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" Alligabant gravia et non ferenda onera, et collo hominum appendebant ea ; ipsi 
autem vel uno digito noluerunt tangere ilia." — Matih. c. xxiii, v. 4. 

" Qua autem mensura mensi fuerunt, eadem reraetiebatur illis." — Mark, e. iv, v. 24. 

" Omnia igitur, quae vultis, ut homines faciant vobis, vos pariter facite illis ; hoo 

enim fundamento niiuntur lex et prophal S?" 1 — JHBMWI 

ii, v. 12. 


JUL 8 1953 





Befobe two years ago, the attention of the civilized world has 
been directed with lively interest towards the progress of the war in 
Hungary. The spectacle of a gallant people, fighting against the 
gigantic powers of Austria and Russia, being strenuously exerted for 
months in what appeared to be a vain attempt to crush them, was 
enough to awaken the warmest sympathies of the lovers of freedom 
all over the globe. The accounts which reached this country from 
the distant scene of conflict, were various and conflicting, but on the 
whole so favorable to the cause of the insurgents, that when the news 
at last arrived of their final and entire discomfiture, it excited as much 
disappointment as regret. It was evident that the preceding accounts 
of astonishing victories gained by the Hungarians over vastly superior 
forces had been grossly exaggerated ; even they had been entire fabrica- 
tions. The theatre of the struggle was near the eastern confines of 
civilized Europe, and all the -'ntelligence which came to us from that 
distant region had been filtered through German and French news- 
papers, and colored by the various hopes and purposes of those who 
disseminated the reports with the intent of affecting public opinion by 
them, and of gaining sympathy and aid for one or the other of the 
contending parties. As we have rejoiced over victories which had 
never been gained save in the excited imaginations of those who re- 
ported them, it is worth while to look a little more closely into the 
nature and causes of the war, and to ascertain if the motives and aims 
of the belligerents have not been as much misrepresented as their 
actions. The Hungarian question is a very simple one — and as the 


decision of it is likely to have an important influence upon the politics 
of Europe for a long period to come, an attempt to render it more 
intelligible may be useful and interesting even on this side of the 
Atlantic. We depend for information on Mr. Degerando's book — on 
a series of excellent articles contributed by E. de Langsdorff — on the 
Revue de Deux Mondes of Mr. Desprez — on Tableaux des Guerres 
d'idiome| et de nationalitel publics par Mr. Paul de Bourgoing, 
Ancien Ministre de France en Russie et en Allemagne, Paris, 1849 — 
and on other most distinguished authorities. 

Though the war in Hungary began as early as September, 1848, a 
Declaration of Independence was not adopted by the Hungarian Diet 
till the middle of April, 1849. In the intervening months, though 
much blood was shed and the contest was waged with great exaspera- 
tion on both sides, it had the aspect of a civil war between different 
portions of the same empire, the weight of imperial authority being 
thrown alternately on either side, according as the vicissitudes of th.9 
conflict caused the one or the other party to adopt a position v hic'i 
Was more favorable to the interests of the empire. Thus, Jellachich. 
and his army were at first denounced as rebels ; and after the Sclavonic 
rebellion in Bohemia had been crushed by the bombardment of Prague, 
the Austrian marshal Hrabowski commenced a campaign against the 
favorers of that rebellion in Croatia and Sclavonia also, while the 
Hungarians, acting on the side of the imperialists, menaced the same 
countries with invasion from the north. But the Austrian cabinet soon 
found that Jellachich was less to be dreaded than Kossuth, and that 
the Sclavonians were disposed to be more loyal subjects than the 
Magyars. By a sudden shift of policy, therefore, the Croats were 
taken into favor, and theii redoubtable Ban at the head of his army 
was commissioned by the emperor to put down the insurrection in 
Hungary. Still the Hungarians did not declare their independence of 
Austria till the young emperor proclaimed a new and very liberal con- 
stitution for all his subjects, of whatever race, language, or province, 
in March, 1849. In this instrument it was formally declared, that 
" all tribes have an equality of rights, and each tribe has an inviolable 
right to preserve and foster its nationality and language" The Hun- 
garians proper, or the Magyars, had no sooner heard these words, than 
foreseeing how popular they would be with the Sclavonians, the Wal- 
lachians, and the Saxons, to whom they secured emancipation from 
the sovereign sway and masterdom which the Magyars had exercised 
over them for centuries, than they forthwith declared their own inde- 
pendence of Austria for the sole purpose of retaining these races in 
their former state of subjection and dependence. The declaration 


which they issued, consequently, was not so much a declaration of 
their own independence, (already amply secured by the concessions of 
the emperor a year before, concessions which made the connection of 
Hungary with Austria merely nominal,) as a protest against the inde- 
pendence of Croatia and Sclavonia. Its object was not to justify the 
rebellion of Hungary against Austria, but to accuse Croatia of rebelling 
against Hungary, and to criminate the emperor for favoring that rebel- 
lion. The Magyars assumed the position, therefore, of a nation striv- 
ing to impose or to continue the yoke upon the necks of their own 
dependents, instead of laboring to throw off" a yoke from their own 
shoulders. It suited the haughty and imperious spirit of this aristo- 
cratic race to bring this accusation against their hereditary monarch 
of favoring a set of rebels against their own sovereignty. Their com- 
plaint reminds us of the feudal barons chiding their king for emanci- 
pating the commons, and thus erecting a barrier against the tyranny 
tf the nobles. 

The war in Hungary, then, on the part of the Magyars, was neither 
a struggle for national independence, nor an attempt to establish a 
repul lie on the wreck of their ancient monarchical and aristocratic 
institutions, JHungary is the most aristocratic nation in Europe; 
nowhere else are the distinctions and immunities of the nobles' so 
8trongIymarEed7 or the nobles themselves so- numerous in comparison 
wi h the whole population, or the dividing lines between the privileged 
and unprivileged classes preserved with so much care. The fourth 
resolution appended to the Declaration of Independence, expressly 
provides, that "the form of government to be adopted for the future 
shall be fixed by the Diet of the nation," in both branches of which 
the representatives: of the titled and untitled nobility have a great 
superiority of numbers, and exercise undisputed control ; where, in 
fact, till within a few years, the third estate, or the commons, were 
hardly represented at all ; and to which, even now, the peasants, who 
constitute four-fifths of the population, do not send a single represen- 
tative. The resolution goes on to say, that " until this point shall be 
decided, on the basis of the ancient and received pri?iciples which have 
been recognized for ages, [that is, acknowledging the absolute supre- 
macy of the Magyar race in the country which they conquered, and 
where they have been lords of the soil and the dominant nation for 
twelve centuries,] the government of the united countries, their pos- 
sessions and dependencies, shall be conducted on the personal respon- 
sibility, and under the obligation to render an account of all his acts, 
by Louis Kossuth." In short, a temporary dictatorship was establish- 
ed, absolute power being confided, not to a military commander, a 


course which the pressing exigencies of the war might well have jus- 
tified, — but to a civilian, who was to exercise all the authority which, 
in a republican insurrection, is usually delegated to a legislative as- 
sembly f — C. *"\ 

The Croatians and other Sclavonians are not the only people, who, 
in this singular Declaration of Independence, are denounced as rebels. 
One of the charges specified in it against the imperial government is, 
that " the traitorous commander" in Transylvania " stirred up the Wal- 
lachian peasants to take arms against their own constitutional rights, 
and, aided by the rebellious Servian hordes, commenced a war of Van- 
dalism and extinction." Here, as in other passages, this remarkable 
document bears less resemblance to the declaration of a people who 
have risen in arms against their rulers to vindicate their liberties, than 
to a manifesto of those rulers intended to censure and subdue such in- 
surrection. It is an appeal to the ancient institutions of the country; a 
vindication of the just authority of the governors over the governed ; a 
reproof of rebellion. How the Hungarians could be engaged in a 
a contest at the same time with their hereditary sovereign and with their 
own rebellious subjects, is the problem which we seek to solve by in- 
vestigating the former position of the parties in respect to each other, 
and the circumstances out of which the war arose. 

Hungary, with a territory no larger than that of Virginia and North 
Carolina united, has a population of about ten millions and a half, 
made up of at least half a dozen distinct races, who speak as many 
different languages and dialects. Among these, the Magyars, who 
are the dominant race, and have long owned all the soil and held the 
whole political power of the country in their hands, number about 
4,200,000. The Sclavonians are rather more numerous, but are di- 
vided into many distinct tribes, which inhabit different portions of the 
country, and speak what was originally one language ; the several 
Sclavonic dialects have marked peculiarities, yet do not differ so wide- 
ly but that the different tribes can understand each other. The Slo- 
wacks, who inhabit the north of Hungary, and number about 2,200,- 
000, seem most nearly allied to the Czeehs of Bohemia, another Scla- 
vonic tribe who began the recent revolutionary movement in the dis- 
jointed empire of Austria. The Rusniaks, a third Sclavonic tribe, are 
300,000 in number. The inhabitants of Croatia, who are of the Scla- 
vonic race, number about 700,000 ; and there are as many more of the 
Servians, of the same descent, who live within the borders of Hungary. 
Add to the Magyars and the Sclavonians about one million of Ger- 
mans, another million of Wallachians, 250 000 Jews, and a few thou- 
sand Greeks, Armenians, and Gipsies, and you have the heterog'ne- 


ous population of Hungary proper. The population of Transylvania, 
which has long been a dependency of Hungary, and was united with 
it in the recent war, consists of 260,000 Magyars, 260,000 Szeklers, a 
rude tribe allied to the Magyars, 250,000 Germans, and 1,300,000 
Wallachians. On the Military Frontier, again, there are nearly 700,- 
000 Croats, 200,000 Servians, 200,000 Germans, and 100,000 Wal- 
lachians. Taken in its largest sense, therefore, Hungary has a popu- 
lation of about fourteen millions, of whom less than one third are 
Magyars, rather more than a third are Sclavonians, one sixth are Wal- 
lachians, and only one twelfth are Germans. The prevailing languages, 
of course, are the Magyar, the Sclavonic in all its dialects, the Ger- 
man, and the Wallachian, no one of which has any affinity with an- 

There is a great diversity of religious faith, as of a language and 
race, among this singular population. The Wallachians are nearly all 
of the Greek church, more than half of them, however, being schis- 
matics. Most of the Sclavonians are Romanists, and the Catholic is 
the established church in Croatia, where no protestant can hold an of- 
fice under government. The Germans are chiefly Lutherans, and 
nearly half of the Magyars are Calvinists. The Unitarian is one of 
the three established churches of Transylvania, having been introduced 
into that country by a queen of Poland in the sixteenth century: 
though th^Wallachiansj form nearly two thirds of the population of 
the duchy, their church, which is the Greek, is only tolerated. 

The dominant races, or „" sovereign nations," as they call them- 
selves, have labored to render their supremacy as conspicuous as pos- 
sible ; in their ordinary employments and in military service, in the 
civil, political, and religious institutions of the country, the dividing line 
between them and the " subject nations" is very broadly marked. This 
distinction, so universal and conspicuous, having been acknowledged 
and uncontested for centuries, has prevented any amalgamation of the 
different races with each other ; and thus the Magyars, the Wallach- 
ians, the Saxons, and the Sclavonians have lived forages side by 
side, each preserving their own language, religion, occupation, habits, 
and all their national characteristics as distinct and broadly separated 
from each other as they were when the fortunes of war and the migra- 
ting propensities of their ancestors first brought them in contact, and 
established them on the same soil. The subject nations, both Wallach- 
ian and Sclavonic, are a rude and uneducated people, who have never 
been able to acquire the languages of their masters, which are funda- 
mentally different from their own ; and this circumstance alpne has 
raised an insuperable bar to intercourse between them. They are also, 


for the most part, of a mild and unambitious disposition, patient and 
laborious, and firmly attached to the customs of their ancestors. They 
are the aborigines of the country, the first possessors of the soil upon 
which the Huns, the Turks, the Magyars, and the Germans have sub- 
sequently established themselves by right of conquest. Submission 
and inferiority have been enforced upon them through so many gene- 
erations, that they have become the badges of their tribe ; and it is 
only within a few years that the idea of resistance, or the possibility 
of asserting an equality of rights, has even occurred to them. 

Here in America, where emigrants coming to us from all the na- 
tions of Europe, and submitting themselves to the crucible of our re- 
publican institutions, are fused in the course of one or two generations 
into one homogeneous mass, different languages, temperaments, habits, 
and characters, all blending together and disappearing almost as rapid- 
ly as the gases sent out from a chemical laboratory are diffused and 
lost in the great body of the outward atmosphere, we can hardly be- 
lieve it possible, in another country, several distinct races should live 
side by side, crowded together within a comparatively small territory, 
and still remain as distinct from each other, and preserve all their origi- 
nal differences as strongly marked, as when circumstances first brought 
them together centuries ago. But it is so ; these broad differences of 
race exist, and the feelings of rivalry and mutual hostility, which so 
naturally result from them, must show themselves when once the do- 
minion of the foreign sovereign, the common master who originally 
held them all in equal subjection and at peace with each other, is with- 
drawn, and national independence allows full scope for the national 
tendencies to produce their appropriate effects. Hungary is the eastern 
outpost of civilized Europe ; its position made it the first stopping- 
place in the migration of those hordes from central Asia, which pros- 
trated the Roman empire in the west, and afterward so often menaced 
the independence of the several kingdoms which were established upon 
its ruins. It was therefore both the earliest and the latest sufferer from 
these incursions. Attila pitched his tents here before he swept over the 
fairer regions of Italy and Gaul ; in 1526, the last independent king 
of Hungary was defeated and slain by the Turks in the fatal battle of 
Mohacz, and the greater part of the country remained subject to the 
Ottomans for a century and a half, till the heroic John Sobieski* and 
the Prince Eugene of Savoy, accomplished its deliverance. From 
that time it has remained subject to Austria, its union with this empire 
being necessary for its protection against the Turks, and essential for 

* Sobieski, the King of Poland, was a sincere ally of the Austrian Empire. 


the freedom of its communication with western Europe. Its perilous 
position, and the frequent wars of which it lias been the theatre, have 
kept alive the military spirit of its people, and preserved its military in- 
stitutions in complete vitality. But its remoteness and isolation have 
prevented it from sharing in the improvements of modern times; and 
its institutions, military, civil, and political, are those of the Middle 
Ages. The Feudal System existed there but yesterday in full vigor; 
all the land was held by the nobles on condition of military service, 
and on failure of direct heirs reverted to the crown. The peasants 
were serfs attached to the soil, and could bring no suit against their 
feudal lord except in his own manorial court, where the noble was judge 
in his own cause. The distance between the vassal and his lord was 
rendered more broad and impassable by the fact that they belonged to 
different races, and spoke different languages. The differences of em- 
ployment and social position contributed to perpetuate the distinctions 
of race; the Magyars, proud of their noble birth, would follow hardly 
any profession but that of arms. And they scorned the foot service ; 
a century or two ago, they served as knights and mounted men-at- 
arms; now, they form the most splendid cavalry in the world, and 
leave the^ Croats and other Sclavonians to fill the ranks of the infan- 
try. The SzekTers, the kindred in race of the Magyars, are born sol- 
diers ; more rude and uncultivated than their splendid kinsmen in Hun- 
gary, they are equally haughty, and more fierce and savage ; woe to 
those who dare encounter them in the course of a civil war, for even 
their tender mercies are cruel. When the passions of the Magyars 
are not excited, however, their conduct is neither overbearing nor ty- 
rannical ; they have too much real bravery, and are too high spirited 
and generous, for the one or the other. The patient and laborious 
Wallachiaus and Sclavonians have tilled the ground for them for cen- 
turies, hardly conscious how firmly the yoke of servitude rested on 
their necks. 

Hungary has been aptly compared to an old feudal castle, with its 
donjons and moats, its battlements and portcullis, which the modern 
reformers wished to transform at once into an elegant and convenient 
modern habitation. The first step necessary in so sweeping a reform 
was to level it with the ground ; and those who had made this rash at- 
tempt soon found that they had miscalculated the strength of the antique 
and massive pile. They succeeded only in pulling down some of the 
outworks upon their own heads. Among these classes so widely sep- 
arated, among races that are foreign, and even hostile, to each other, 
with different religions, different tongues, and different civilizations, it 


was vain to think of introducing the modern ideas of democracy and 
equality ; and the Magyars themselves have never attempted it. 

The Magyars inhabit chiefly the central and eastern portions of 
Hungary, having the Slowacks on the north, the Wallachians on the 
east, and the Croatians and other Illyro Sclavonians on the south. — 
The great estates of their titled nobles, or magnates, as they are called, 
extend over every portion of the country, as the other races, till quite 
recently, owned little or no land in Hungary proper, except in the free 
cities, where the land had been freed by purchase, or released from 
feudal obligations by the favor of the crown. It is estimated by the 
latest statisticians, that the nobles, who are all Magyars, number at least 
600,000, including women and children, so that one seventh part of 
this dominant race enjoy the privileges of rank ; but the magnates do 
not exceed two hundred in number, most of whom own vast posses- 
sions. The untitled nobility have the entire control of the lower house, 
or second table, as it is called, in the general Diet, this house being 
composed chiefly of representatives from the county assemblies, and 
the affairs of the counties, (comitais,) of which there are about sixty 
in the kingdom, are regulated exclusively by the Magyar nobles. — 
Thus, as the magnates form the great majority of the upper house, or 
first table, the whole legislation of the kingdom is in the hands of the 
nobility.' All the Magyar nobles own land, which the poorest of them 
are often obliged to cultivate with their own hands, as any employ- 
ment in commerce or the mechanic arts is considered derogatory to 
their rank, and they do not often engage even in the learned profes- 
sions. The Magyars who are not noble form the higher class of the 
peasantry, and though not often rich, they have generally most of the 
necessaries, and even the comforts of life, as the feudal burdens on 
their lands are not excessive, and their tenant rights are often very val- 
uable. Whether peasants or nobles, they pride themselves on their 
race, and regard the Wallachians and Sclavonians as their subjects, if 
not as inferior beings. According to this proverb: 

' Tot nem ember, kasa nem etel, telega nem szeker." 
A Sclavonian is no man,.the millet is no eating, a car is no coach. 

The Magyar language stands by itself, having no affinity or rela- 
tionship with any other language in Europe \ lingua sine matreet soro- 
ribus. There are only two other languages on the continent, the Bis- 
cayan or Basque, and the Finnish, which are equally isolated ; some 
philologists have attempted to trace an affinity between the Magyar 
and the Finnish, but the prevailing opinion now is, that the resemblance 
between them is too slight to afford sure grounds for believing that they 


sprang originally from the same stock. .The Hungarian is a barbarian 
and nomadic language, offending the ear and of very limited use, having 
hardly any literature, and only a few learned philologists, besides the 
Magyars themselves, are acquainted with it. This peculiar character of 
their language alone is enough to point out the Magyars as compara- 
tive strangeis in the country which they inhabit and own, its former 
possessors having been deprived of the soil and reduced to servitude. 
Their attitude in this fair region is still that of conquerors lording it 
over the ancient inhabitants, who have never succeeded in shaking off 
the yoke which was imposed on them nearly 1200 years ago. Leaving 
aside for the present the changes which have been made within the 
last ten years, it may be said that all the political and civil institutions 
of the country were contrived exclusively for the benefit of this domi- 
dant race, who form, be it remembered, less than a third part of the 
population ; and down to the outbreak of the recent war, these insti- 
tutions were exclusively controlled and managed by them. The Mag- 
yar peasants, it is true, had nothing to do with the direction of affairs, 
though their interests, so far as they came in conflict with those of 
the Sclavonian and Wallachian peasants, were, of course protected by 
the great body of the Magyar nobility, who owned all the land, and 
made all the laws. The guaranties of Hungarian independence, so 
frequently alluded to in speaking of the union of the country with 
Austria, were nothing more than stipulations in favor of the privileges 
of the nobles. The engagement to respect " the ancient constitution" 
of the land, which was a part of the coronation oath whenever a new 
emperor of Austria was crowned king of Hungary at Buda, was sim- 
ply a promise to do nothing to disturb the domination of the Magyar 
race, and to respect the rights and immunities of the nobles. That 
these immunities were precious in the eyes of the nobles, and were 
jealously guarded, we can well believe, inasmuch as they secured to 
them entire exemption from taxation, all the burdens of the state being 
borne by the peasants. 

So far was this principle carried, that, down to 1840, the nobles 
were not required to pay the ordinary toll on passing the bridges 
which were erected for the public convenience. " I shall never 
forget," writes M. de Langsdorff, " the impression I received when, 
on the bridge which crosses the Danube at Pesth, I saw every peasant, 
every poor cultivator of the ground, rudely stopped and compelled to 
pay toll both for himself and for the meagre horses harnessed to his 
cart.* The tolls are heavy, amounting to a considerable sum for these 

* 1 have experienced the same fact as M. de Langsdorff in the year 1848, passing the 
biidge between Pesth and Buda. 


poor people; while the Magyar gentlemen, mounted on fine horses, or 
seated in elegant carriages, passed and repassed without payment I 
had read, it is true, that the Hungarian noble was exempted from all 
public contributions, was subject to no personal tax, and that all bur- 
dens fell on the peasants ; but there is a great difference between the 
mention in print of some old injustice of the laws, and the immediate 
and irritating spectacle of a social wrong. I felt that I belonged to 
the party of the vanquished, and like them I offered to pay. But the 
toll gatherer, perceiving that I was a stranger, refused my money, and 
told me that the tax was intended only for the serfs. This exemption, 
it is true, was a small affair, and tyranny has other practices that are 
far more odious ; but from that time I was no more astonished by the 
inequalities and anomalies which I witnessed during the rest of my 
journey; I had foreseen them all on the bridge at Pesth." 

As the bridge was built from the public funds, which are supplied 
exclusively by taxation of the peasants, the injustice of allowing the 
nobles to pass free is still more obvious. It was one of the grand 
reforms effected by Count Szecheny, that the Diet, in 1836, was in- 
duced to vote that the nobility should be subject to toll on passing the 
fine suspended bridge by which it had been resolved to supersede the 
floating one at Pesth. The nobles deserve the more credit for this act, 
for as they have the entire control of both tables of the Diet, they 
were called upon to vote down one of the privileges of their own 
order. Though the amount of the toll was insignificant, the passage 
of the law was acknowledged to be a point of great importance, as it 
would sacrifice one of the most cherished principles of the ancient 
constitution of the country, — the exemption of the nobility from all 
public contributions whatever. Count Szecheny had labored strenu- 
ously to prepare the public mind for the change by the pamphlets 
which he had published on the subject ; and he took the lead as a 
debater in the Diet in favor of the measure. After the debate, opinions 
seemed so equally divided that the Palatine, who presided, durst not 
declare that the bill had passed in the usual way, by acclamation ; for 
the first time in the history of a Hungarian Diet, and though there 
were great doubts of the legality of such a course, the votes were 
ordered to be counted, and, in a full house, a majority of six were 
reported on the side of generosity and justice. 

The present position of the Magyars in Hungary is very much 
what that of the Normans in England was, for the first century or 
two after the Conquest. Though William had fair pretensions to the 
crown by right of birth — his title, in fact was quite as good as that of 
Harold — he treated the Saxons, after he had subdued them, as if his 


only claim to their allegiance rested upon the sword. He exercised 
all the rights of a conqueror according to the ideas of his own bar- 
barous age ; and his chivalrous but rapacious nobles, with their greedy 
followers, eagerly seconded his designs. To break the spirit of the 
conquered Saxons by the insults- as much as by the losses inflicted 
upon them, to proscribe their language as well as to rob them of their 
estates, to ridicule their habits, and to brand them as an inferior and 
degraded race, who were unfit to hold office and unworthy to bear 
arms, was the settled policy of the earlier Norman kings. The Nor- 
man French was the language of the court, the nobility, and the par- 
liament, of all legislative acts and legal proceedings, from which, indeed, 
it has not entirely disappeared even at the present day. The chief 
captains of the invading army became the great barons of the realm, 
who were afterwards prompt enough to vindicate the privileges of their 
order against the arbitrary will of the monarch, but who took very 
little care of the liberties of the commonalty. But luckily the Nor- 
mans were not numerous in comparison with the whole body of the 
Saxon population of England ; and as they had to cross the channel 
to arrive at their new domain, they could not always bring their wives 
and daughters with them. The fair haired Saxon maidens did more 
towards the emancipation of the English people than did their fathers 
and brothers, for they soon began to lead captive their Norman con- 
querors. In the course of a few generations,, very little Norman blood 
remained entirely pure in the island. A mixed race quickly formed a 
mixed language, and the English compound soon showed itself more 
generous and fertile than either the Norman or the Saxon element 
uncombined. The conquerors were like a mighty river rushing into 
the ocean with such force as to drive back the waters of the deep, and 
preserve its freshness some miles from land ; but the contest is too 
unequal, the force of the stream is soon spent, and its sweet waters 
are finally lost in the saltness of the multitudinous waves. 

(Kr'Normandy sent forth a little army that was able to conquer Eng- 
land, but was not numerous enough to possess it. Little more than a 
century before the period of that invasion, the Asiatic hive of .nations 
had sent forth one of its great swarms of Tartar breed, men, women, 
and children, carrying their tents, rude household utensils, and pagan 
gods along with them, to find fresh pastures for their herds on the rich 
fields of Europe. The fertile plain of central Hungary afforded them 
their first resting place ; the degenerate descendants of Trajan's Roman 
legions, who now call themselves Roumani, or Wallachians, and the 
ancient Sclavonic races, who were the aborigines of the country, 
offered but a feeble resistance to these fierce invaders. They were 


either driven into the fastnesses of the Carpathian mountains, or were 
reduced to servitude, and compelled to till the lands which were no 
longer their own. But the easy conquest of Hungary did not satisfy 
the rapacious and warlike spirit of the Magyars. Leaving a portion 
of their horde behind them, the others passed on, and carried the terror 
of their arms far into Germany and Italy, and even to the borders of 
Spain. As their habits were nomadic, and they were exercised from 
infancy in archery and horsemanship, they were able to make annual 
incursions into the more civilized countries around them, baffling their 
enemies by the swiftness of their movements and the suddenness of 
their attacks, and bringing back to their newly adopted land a rich 
booty from the cities which they had plundered and burnt. So much 
consternation did they create by these inroads, that the Christian 
nations of that period regarded them as the Gog and Magog of the 
Scriptures, the signs and forerunners of the end of the world. But 
their power was at last broken by two severe defeats which they re- 
ceived, in succession, from Henry the Fowler and Otho the Great. — 
The latter one was so overwhelming, that it humbled the spirit of the 
nation, who thenceforward kept within the limits of Hungary, where 
the fertility of the soil, and the enjoyments procured for them by the 
patient labor of the Sclavonians and Wallachians whom they had 
reduced to servitude, gradually weaned them from their fondness for 
hazardous excursions, and gave them a taste for sedentary life and the 
arts of peace. But they preserved their individuality as a race, because 
they had brought their women and children with them from Asia, and 
they scorned to intermarry with their subjects, whose language was a 
mere jargon in their ears. Thus isolated from surrounding nations, 
the warlike and nomadic spirit of their ancestors was kept alive in 
them, and on fit occasion it flamed forth as of old. They no longer 
invaded other lands, but they fortified their own mountain fastnesses, 
and for three centuries the integrity of their territory was not violated 
by foes from without. 

OO^Barbarian conquerors leave nothing to the vanquished ; the Mag- 
yars appropriated to themselves the whole of the soil of Hungary, 
and their laws rendered it impossible that any portion of it should 
ever be alienated from them. The theory which they adopted was, 
that the whole territory belonged to the king, as he was the only re- 
presentative of the entire nation ; in respect to its immediate occupa- 
tion and use, the ground was partitioned among them on strictly milita- 
ry principles. The officers, or petty chieftains, down to the lowest, 
received estates the size of which was proportioned to their rank and 
to the number of men whom they had commanded ; these men, the 


common soldiers, with their families, were to live upon the estates of 
their officers, and by their labor, when they had not Sclavonian or 
Wallachian serfs enough to labor for them, to support both themselves 
and their former commanders. The descendants of these officers, who 
seem to have been very numerous, form the present Hungarian nobil- 
ity ; the Magyar peasants are the offspring of the common soldiers, or 
privates. The title of the crown is indefeasible ; the noble has only 
what is called the right of possession, jus possessionis, in his estate ; on 
the failure of his posterity — usually, on the failure of the male line 
only, but sometimes after both the male and female lines are extinct — 
the land reverts to the king. Only the descendants of the person who 
first received the estate can hold it in perpetuity ; they may dispose of 
it if they please, but then the purchaser cannot hold it after this family 
from whom he received it becomes extinct. The crown can always re- 
claim the land, though it may have changed hands several times, when- 
ever it can be shown that there are no heirs of the original possessor in 
being. So, also, the purchaser cannot retain possession, if any heir of 
the first owner, however remote, or at a day however distant from the 
time of transfer, chooses to refund the purchase money with interest, 
and thus reclaim the estate. Practically, therefore, land in Hungary 
is inalienable ; it is loaded with a sort of double entail — first, in favor 
of the crown, secondly, in favor of the family of the first owner. — 
Any one may buy it, indeed, but he does so at a great risk ; for if the 
family from whom he brought it becomes extinct, the crown will take 
it away from him ; and if it does not become extinct, any member of 
it, at any time, can regain the land by refunding its price. These two 
rights, which affect all the landed property in the kingdom, are called 
fiscaliias, or the right of the exchequer, and aviticitas, or the right of 
ancestry. It is no matter of surprise, therefore, that the land should 
have remained for so many centuries exclusively in possession of the 
Magyar nobility. 

All estates are held on condition of military service, the possessors 
of them being bound to bring into the field, at the call of the crown or 
the Diet, a number of soldiers proportioned to the extent of his lands. 
The peasants retain their holdings on the same tenure ; so that, in an 
insurrection, as the levy en masse in Hungary is called, every male in 
the kingdom who derives his subsistence from the land, and is capa- 
ble of bearing arms, is drawn into the service. As military duty is 
thus connected with the ownership of land and the rights of the no- 
bility, the position of the Magyars in the country has always retained 
its primitive aspect, as a military encampment. The free cities are in- 
novations in the ancient constitution ; their existence proves that even 


feudal Hungary has not been able to fence out altogether the spirit and 
the improvements of modern times. Their inhabitants are chiefly 
Germans, Jews, and Sclavonians, engaged in commerce and the me- 
chanic arts; and they are not subject to this onerous obligation of 
military service. But the political power goes along with the military, 
and what the bourgeoisie gain in the freedom and ease of their posi- 
tion, they lose in influence. The nobles, that is, the Magyars, have 
the control of the army, and direct the whole course of public affairs. 
They alone, as we have seen, compose the county assemblies, or con- 
gregations, which meet four times a year, and send delegates to the 
general Diet, which has the supreme legislative power of the kingdom. 
The situation of the peasants, in reference to that of the nobility, is 
not one of so great hardship and injustice as we might at first sight sup- 
pose. The peasants do not own the lands which they cultivate, but 
hire them of the proper landlords on what may be called a perpetual 
lease; only, instead of paying a fixed sum annually, which would be 
called rent, they are held to pay all the taxes or public burdens, to pay 
tithes also, part of which go to the landlords and part to the clergy, 
and to perform certain other services for the benefit of the owners of 
the estate.' The aggregate of all these burdens does not amount to a 
fair rent for the value of the land ; the proof of which is, that a peas- 
ant's holding, or his tenant-right, is good property, which commands 
a price in the market, and as such is often bought up by the lord of the 
manor himself. It is evident, therefore, that there would be great in- 
justice in freeing the land at once from these feudal obligations without 
compensating the land owners, as this would amount simply to a trans- 
ference of the property to the tenants without an equivalent, and the 
nobles would thus be robbed of their entire estates. On the other 
hand, if the feudal burdens were taken off, and the land restored with- 
out incumbrance to its former owners, the peasants would be greatly 
injured by the change, as they would be obliged to pay full rent for 
what they now enjoy at a price much inferior to its annual value. — 
The matter was thus regarded in the Diet, where the question has been 
debated for the last thirteen years, all parties being equally desirous of 
emancipating the peasants from these feudal obligations, and all ac- 
knowledging that the lord of the manor is indisputably the owner of 
the land, and that he cannot justly be deprived of it without an equiva- 
lent. The only question was, whether the landlords should be indem- 
nified by the state, out of a fund to be raised by a loan for that pur- 
pose, or whether they should be paid by annuities, chargeable for a 
term of years on the peasants themselves, who could afford to pay 
them if released from the burdensome conditions upon which they had 


hitherto enjoyed their holdings. The Austrian government took the 
le£d in urging the Diet to settle the question by adopting one or the 
other of these methods ; and its advice would probably have been fol- 
lowed if the revolution had not intervened. Kossuth and his party 
hastily cut the knot by decreeing the abolition of the feudal burdens, 
making over the entire ownership of the lands to the peasants, and 
promising to indemnify the landlords out of a fund to be created by 
confiscating the property of the clergy. This was simply robbing Pe- 
ter to pay Paul, because the assistance of Paul was needed to carry 
out the revolution. Nobody, it was supposed, would care about the 
plunder of the church. 

The Magyars continued to be pagans for a century after their 
establishment in the country. But when they had become domesti- 
cated on the soil, and had begun to cultivate peaceful relations with 
their neighbors, Christianity made its way among them in spite of the 
obstacle created by their peculiar language, which has always retard- 
ed their assimilation with the other nations of Europe. St. Stephen 
was their first Christian king, and his name is still revered among 
them as the founder of their institutions, and the Charlemagne of their 
race. He was crowned by Pope Sylvester II. with the famous crown 
of gold, which was till recently preserved at Buda, as the palladium of 
their nation ; the Scotch did not regard with greater reverence the 
famous stone in the royal seat at Scone. St. Stephen systemized 
their institutions, but did not alter their essential character, which 
remained as it was under Arpad, the chieftain who led them into the 
country. In the main, their government was that of a feudal kingdom, 
its peculiarities being the great number of the nobles, and the domina- 
tion of the whole race over the Sclavonians and Wallachians. Then- 
position was one well suited to develop a military spirit, aristocratic 
tendencies, and an intense feeling of nationality. They became as 
haughty, brave, and rapacious as the Normans, though not so refined, 
owing to their remoteness from the civilized capitals of western Europe. 
On account of their greater relative numbers, and the patient and 
unenterprising character of the races whom they had subdued, their 
dominion was more secure at home than was that of the Normans in 
Sicily, France, or England ; but they were exposed to greater dangers 
from -without. Asia continued to pour forth its barbarian hordes upon 
Europe, long after their establishment in Hungary ; and in their fron- 
tier position, they were the first objects of attack for enemies of a like 
origin with themselves, but now of a dissimilar faith. They were 
valiant and skilful in war, but they could not bring out the whole 
strength of the country against its invaders, since their oppressed 


subjects cared little about a change of masters ; and therefore they 
sometimes experienced severe defeats. In 1526, the youthful king of 
Hungary was totally defeated and slain by the Turks in the fatal bat- 
tie of Mohacz. Since that time, they have found protection from their 
enemies only by their union with Austria. 

It was as an ally more.than as a subject province, as a sovereign power 
submitting to certain common restrictions for the purchase of certain 
common advantages, that Hungary made choice, so long as her mon- 
archy remained elective, of the emperor of Austria to be her king, and 
finally, in a Diet held at Presburg in 1687, acknowledged the hered- 
itary right of the same family to reign in both countries. After the 
memorable scene with Maria Theresa, this right was extended, accord- 
ing to the terms of the Pragmatic Sanction, to the female line. It was 
not, indeed, till after her union with Austria was confirmed, that Hun- 
gary was entirely released from the Turks, who had retained possession 
of full half of the kingdom, from the battle of Mohacz till they were 
defeated and driven out by the heroic John Sobieski in 1683, and by 
the Prince Eugene of Savoy in the years 1691—1716 — 1718. During 
this period of national humiliation and distress, the Magyars hesitated 
whether to throw themselves under the exclusive protection of the Aus- 
trians or the Turks, who divided the country between them. Though 
Ferdinand I. of Austria had become their rightful sovereign after the 
death of the unhappy Louis II., whose sister he had married, and 
whose right, of course, was transmitted to her descendants, the Aus- 
trian rule was so distasteful to them, that they invoked the aid of the 
Ottomans against it, and in the sanguine struggle, the noted Tokolo 
and his partisans fought with the Turks against Sobieski. Fortunate- 
ly for Christendom, the body of the nation at length preferred to unite 
itself to Austria, and thus to strengthen the eastern frontier of Europe 
against the Ottoman power, instead of contributing directly to its ad- 

The real cause of dislike of the Austrian alliance was the fear en- 
tertained by the nobles lest the abundant privileges of their order, which 
they had wrested from their native princes, should not be respected 
by the house of Hapsburg. As in every other feudal kingdom, there 
had been a long struggle for the mastery between the crown and the 
barons ; and the issue of this contest, owing to the great number of 
the nobility, was far more unfavorable to the regal power in Hungary, 
than it was in France and England. King Andreas II. had been drawn 
into the Crusades, and on his return from Palestine, be found that his 
subjects had taken the same advantage of him which the people of 
several other European countries had reaped from the absence of their 


sovereigns in the east ; the royal power had fallen into decay, the no- 
bles had usurped what the crown had lost, and had entered into a con- 
spiracy to protect their usurpations. He was obliged to yield, and to 
grant to the rebels the celebrated Golden Bull, which is to Hungary 
what Magna Charta is to England, except that it secures only the no- 
bility in their rights, and leaves the peasants and the subject nations 
just where they were, a prey to the oppression both of the barons and 
the crown. This instrument, which as still frequently appealed to as 
the most important chapter in the constitution, secures to the nobles 
freedom from arrest except by due course of law, perpetual immunity 
from all taxation whatever, the right, when their privileges are attacked, 
of legal resistance without incurring the penalties of treason, and 
freedom from any obligation to obey the king till after his regular 

The truth is, Hungary has always been independent ; she has en- 
joyed her own constitution, her own legislature, the right of electing 
her own palatine, and of determining the measure of assistance which 
she would grant Austria in case of war. The union of the two coun- 
tries was a union for their common good to strengthen their hands against 
their common enemies, the Turks. Hungary had no greater cause to 
dread an Austrian sovereign, than England had to fear the accession 
of James VI. of Scotland. The cases were entirely parallel ; the 
late monarch was styled the emperor Ferdinand I. at Vienna, and king 
Ferdinand V. at Presburg. Hungary being far the largest and most 
powerful of the many states which form the conglomerate empire, and 
having a numerous order of nobility, who enjoyed the most extensive 
constitutional privileges, were warlike in their habits, and could bring 
strong bodies of their vassals into the field, an advantage not enjoyed 
by any other portion of the Austrian dominions, there was more rea- 
son that Austria should be jealous of her, than that she should be jeal- 
ous of Austria. 

Besides, political reasons of great weight forbade the separation of 
Hungary from the empire. On account of its geographical position, 
its absolute independence would cause its isolaton ; it would be thrown 
off from the civilization and the politics of western and central Europe 
into semi-barbarism, surrounded by Turkey, the people of Wallachia, 
Servia, and Bulgaria. Austria, it has been well observed, is now the 
bridge that connects her with European civilization : it would be ruin- 
ous policy to convert that bridge into a barrier. Hungary proper is 
entirely inland, she has no seaport, no outlet for her commerce ; for 
even the Danube, her only natural highway to the sea, flows in the 
lower part of its course through the dominions of Turkey, and its 


mouth is also commanded by Russia. Either of these powers, there- 
fore, might at any time cut off the communication of Hungary with 
the Black Sea. Croatia has the poor roadstead, rather than seaport, 
of Fiume on the Adriatic ; and the wish to secure even this inconve- 
nient and distant opening to the Mediterranean is doubtless one of the 
reasons why the Magyars have been so anxious to preserve Croatia as a 
dependency of Hungary. Separated from Austria, deprived of Croatia, 
and cut off by the Turks from the navigation of the Danube, Magyar- 
Hungary would be like an isolated tree planted in a soil where there is 
no water, the branches and foliage of which would wither in a single 

It was only the restless and domineering spirit of the united Magyar 
nobility, aggressive and fiery in temperament, and panting not so much 
for absolute independence as for entire control of the more patient, in- 
dustrious, and unambitious races — Sclavonians, Germans, and Wallach- 
ians — by whom they are surrounded, which kindled the recent war, and 
so conducted it as to arm everyone of these races against themselves; 
and thus, in spite of their own matchless bravery and enthusiasm, and 
the misplaced sympathy of the republican party throughout Europe 
and America, to bring down upon their heads the united powers of 
Austria and Russia, and finally to sink in the unequal struggle. Had 
they begun by the abnegation of the enormous and unjust privileges 
of their own order and the insolent supremacy of their race ; .had they 
offered confedration and equality of political rights to Croat and Slo- 
wack, Saxon and Walla chian, their united strength might have dashed 
in pieces the Austrian empire, and the Russian troops would never 
have crossed their borders. But they aimed to procure dissimilar and 
incompatible objects ; to retain the economical and political advan- 
tages of a union with Austria, without submitting to any control, or 
tendering any equivalent; to be admitted to all the privileges enjoyed 
by the Hereditary States, without bearing any portion of their bur- 
dens ; to vindicate their own independence against the empire, but to 
crush the Croatians and Wallachians for daring to claim independence 
of the Magyars ; to " hunt out those proscribed traitors in their lair," 
to stifle " the rebellion in south Hungary/' to lay waste with fire and 
sword the Saxon colonies in Transylvania, and then evoke the indig- 
nation of Europe against the interference of Russia, whose troops en- 
tered Hermanstadt at the urgent entreaty of these Saxon colonists, in or- 
der to save them from utter destruction by the merciless Szeklers and 

We have said that the immediate cause of the Hungarian Declara- 
tion of Independence was the publication, by the youthful emperor of 


Austria, of a very liberal constitution of all his subjects on the 4th of 
March, 1849. So bountiful was this constitution in granting political 
privileges and securities to all Austrian subjects, without distinction, 
that the Magyars had no ostensible ground to complain of it, except 
that which is stated in their declaration ; that it divided what tbey call 
tlieir territory " into five parts, separating Transylvania, Croatia, Scla- 
vonia and Fiume from Hungary, and creating at the same time a prin- 
cipality for the Servian rebels," and thus " paralyzed the political ex- 
istence of the country." The justice even of this complaint is not 
very obvious; for Transylvania has always had a Diet of her own, 
Croatia and Sclavonia united also have one, and the degree in which 
these Diets depend on, or are subject to, the Hungarian Diet, has never 
been accurately determined. The Croatian Diet protests against any 
such dependence or subjection whatever, and for very good reasons; 
for it is permitted to send but three delegates to the Diet at Pesth, which 
is wholly controlled by the Magyar nobility. What power would these 
three delegates have to protect the interests of the provinces which 
they represent, and which have an exclusively Sclavonian population ? 
it is evident that the separation of these four provinces from Hun- 
gary, with which, indeed, they have never been properly or rightfully 
united, was absolutely necessary in order to carry out another article 
of the new Austrian constitution, which is the real object that the Mag- 
yars protest against. This article is the one we have already quoted, 
which secures an equality of rights to all the differeut races of the em- 
pire, and guarantees to each the privilege of retaining its own nation- 
ality and language. Other articles declare, that " for all the races or 
nations of the empire there is but one general Austrian citizenship ;" 
and that " in no Crown-land shall there be any difference between its 
natives and those of another Crown-land, neither in the administration 
of civil or criminal justice, nor in the ways and manners of justice, 
nor in the distribution of the public burdens." This is in the true re- 
publican spirit of equality of rights and political privileges; and this 
was the law which Austria decreed, and Magyar -Hungary repudiated. 
The policy of Austria is evident enough ; we grant her no credit but 
for submitting frankly and without reserve to what had become a po- 
litical necessity. History furnishes many other instances of a triangu- 
lar contest between a despotic monarch, an arrogant nobility, and an 
exasperated people, in which the crown made common cause with the 
people, granted all their demands, and thus gained power enough to 
crush the refractory barons. Royalty is always more prompt to sac- 
rifice its prerogatives, than an ai'istocracy is to abandon its privileges ; 


for the former hopes to retrieve at a future day the ground which it 
has lost ; while the latter, if once depressed, can never rise. 

But the Magyars found still more serious causes to complain of the 
liberality of the new Austrian constitution. It provides that the Up- 
per House of the General Imperial Diet shall consist of two members 
chosen by each of the provincial diets, besides other persons chosen 
by the Imperial Diet itself, enough to make the whole number one 
half as large as that of the Lower House ; that is, it establishes an 
equal representation of the several Crown-lands in this Upper House, 
thus giving to Transylvania, Croatia and Sclavonia, and Fiume with 
its territories, equal weight with Hungary, and of course emancipating 
them from Hungarian domination. The constitution of the Lower 
House in the Imperial Diet is still more fatal to the lofty pretensions 
of the Magyars to govern all other races and nationalities. " The 
Lower House proceeds from general and direct elections. The fran- 
chise belongs to every Austrian citizen who is of age," and who pays 
a moderate tax, which is not in any case to exceed twenty florins, and 
may be as small as five florins. This is equal suffrage, and it certainly 
comes as near universal suffrage as any reasonable liberal could desire, 
considering how little experience the subjects of Austria have had in 
managing representative institutions. Under such a law, the 4,200,000 
Magyars lose all control even of Hungary proper, which has a popula- 
tion of 10,500,000 ; the reins pass at once from their hands into those 
of the despised Sclavonians and Wallachians ; who, taken together. 
number over six millions. The Magyar nobility, who number about 
600,000, beheld themselves reduced from a condition in which they 
had the entire control of public affairs to a level with the eight millions 
of peasants. This proud aristocracy is absolutely crushed by the 
genuine republicanism of the constitution. This was the grievance 
which produced the Hungarian Declaration of Independence, a 
Declaration put forth by a Diet constituted almost exclusively of the 
Magyar nobility. Up to the 4th of March, 1849, the reunion of Hun- 
gary with Austria was possible, and even probable, though open hos- 
tilities had existed between them for nearly six months; but on that 
date, the new constitution was issued, and the Magyar nobles imme- 
diately threw away the scabbard, and declared that they fought for 
absolute national independence. 

That they might not be absolutely without allies in a contest which 
would evidently be a long and desperate one, and as they could find 
no friends among the subject races in their own country whom they 
had so long oppressed, they resolved to make common cause with the 
ultra republicans of Vienna, and, indeed, of Germany and all Europe. 


It was this alliance which varnished over their aristocratic purposes 
and tendencies with a false appearance of democracy, and gained for 
them the misdirected sympathies of the liberal party in both hemis- 
pheres. To one who has studied the history, character, and condition 
of the Magyar race in Hungary, this alliance certainly appears one of 
the most skilful artifices that was ever framed. It can be explained 
only on the principle so frequently exemplified in the movements of 
political parties, that extremes meet. The most striking feature in 
the Magyar character is the chivalrous, haughty, and aristocratic 
spirit which has been fostered by centuries of undisputed dominion 
over the nations whom their ancestors conquered before more than 
1000 years ago, and by a continued strffgle with the house of Austria 
to preserve the exclusive privileges of their orde; and their race. 

An intense feeling of their nationality has always directed their con- 
duct. Even of late years, when ideas of progress and democratic 
reform had pushed their way even into Hungary, the great question at 
the Diet did not relate to the mode of embodying these ideas into 
legislative acts, but to the doubt whether the king, at the close of the 
session, would wear the Hungarian surcoat or the Austrian royal 
mantle ; and whether he would make his speech in Magyar or in Ger- 
man. The manner in which the royal propositions were received, 
(the crown had the initiative in all legislative acts,) depended much 
more on the solution of these doubts than on the nature of the propo- 
sitions themselves. "I still remember," says an eye witness, "the 
closing of the diet of 1840. The discussions had been stormy, and 
the members were about to separate with angry and resentful feelings. 
There were some at Vienna who counselled vigorous and severe 
measures. But there was a surer means of allaying the discontent. 
The emperor appeared in the Magyar hussar uniform, and the empress 
and her ladies bore the long white veil Avhich the Magyar dames wear 
on great festival occasions. The assembly, electrified at the sight, 
made the hall resound with their cries of joy and triumph ; and at the 
first word pronounced by the emperor in the Magyar language, the 
enthusiasm broke through all bounds, and he was not permitted to 
finish the sentence which he had learned with some difficulty." 

This enthusiasm of character, coupled with some j)icturesque pecu- 
liarities of dress and customs, is one great cause of the favor with 
which the cause of the Magyars has been received in Europe. The 
established mode of taking the vote in the Diet has always been by 
acclamation, so that unanimity was often supposed when it did not 
exist. A noble never appears in public without the long and trailing 
sabre peculiar to bis race, which, as already observed, he carries even 


nto the legislative halls ; whence the proverbial saying among them., 
" he has his arms, and he has his vote ; his vote is therefore free." 
Assent was signified by clashing these sabres ; and their late Palatine, 
the archduke Joseph, was noted for his quickness of ear and impar- 
tiality in determining whether more sabres were clashed in the affir- 
mative or the negative of a question. In this instance, as in many 
others, we see that the Magyar pride of race and strong attachment 
to ancestral usages have brought down a rude custom of the Middle 
Ages to modern times, in which it has no real significance, though it 
gives to their proceedings a factitious air of unanimity and chivalric 

Again, the ordinary assemflkge of the militia in Hungary, to per- 
form the military service required of them by the tenure of their lands, 
is called the insurrection ; a word which, as repeated by the histori- 
ans, gives quite a false aspect to the occurrence. The splendid attire 
of the Hungarian soldiery, especially of the cavalry, in which arm 
alone the nobles are bound to serve, shows the rude and barbaric taste 
for magnificence which has descended to them from their Tartar ances- 
tors, and has been religiously cultivated as a badge of their race. Yet 
their dress is well designed for military purposes, as the imposing as- 
pect of an army is often an element of its success ; the Magyar hus- 
sar jacket, embroidered with gold and pearls, has been copied in half 
the armies of Europe. One reason of the lasting popularity of the 
late Palatine was, that he always wore the national dress, especially 
the atiila, a sort of tunic of cloth or black velvet, the name of which 
flatters the pride of the Magyars with the memory of their supposed 
aucient leader, and the mente, a long surcoat or pelisse, trimmed with 
fur. He also spoke with great fluency the Magyar language, a rare 
accomplishment for a native German, though no officer of rank in 
Hungary would be tolerated who had not acquired it. The nobles 
pay great attention to the physical education of their children, accus- 
toming them from a very early age to all manly exercises, especially 
swimming and horsemanship. The noted reformer, Count Szecheny, 
a magnate of high rank and great wealth, is reported to be the best 
swimmer in Hungary ; a crowd often collected on the quay at Pesth 
when the rumor was circulated that he was about to swim over the 

Many of the characteristics of the Magyar race interest the imagi- 
nation and the feelings strongly in their favor ; but the sober judgment 
of one who looks at them under all the light derived from the improved 
civilization of the nineteenth century cannot but condemn their position 
as a false one, their institutions as antiquated, and their character and 


customs as little suited to promote their intellectual and material well- 
being. The most intelligent among them have long admitted the ne- 
cessity of great reforms, and during the twenty years which immedi- 
ately preceded the recent war, many beneficial changes were actually 
made, and the way was paved for others of greater moment. The 
credit of these ameliorations is chiefly due to Count Szecheny, one of 
the noblest and best reformers of whom any age or country can boast. 
Having a princely fortune, an enterprising and generous disposition, 
and an intellect thoroughly cultivated by books and foreign travel, 
joining the enthusiasm and the perseverance of a reformer to the prac- 
tical skill and tact of a statesman, and being both an accomplished 
writer and an eloquent and practised debater, he has accomplished so 
much for his country that she owes him a larger debt of gratitude than 
is due to all her sovereigns and warriors united. His first enterprise, 
commenced twenty years since, was an attempt to improve the navi- 
gation of the Danube, a work of immense importance, as we have 
shown, to the prosperity of the country. The obstructions in the river 
were so great, that only large rafts and some rude bateaux were sent 
down stream, to be broken up when they had once arrived at the 
Black Sea. Szecheny built at his own expense a light and stout boat 
in which he descended the river himself, and ascertained that the rocks 
and rapids were not so formidable as had been supposed. He then or- 
ganized a company for removing the greatest obstacles from the bed of 
the stream, and placing a line of steamboats upon it. The undertak- 
ing had complete success, and within one year the boats were plying 
regularly from Ratisbon to Vienna, and from Vienna to Constantino- 
'pie. The enterprise excited great enthusiasm in Hungary ; the Aus- 
trian government favored it, and contributed largely for its execution 
Metternich himself was pleased, and became one of the first stock- 
holders, though he laughed at the boasting-of the Magyars respecting 
it, " who thought they had invented the Danube." 

This work made Szecheny very popular ; but as yet his countrymen 
regarded him only as an able engineer. He soon showed himself, how- 
ever, a politician and publicist of the highest rank, by a number of 
pamphlets published in quick succession, advocating with great elo- 
quence and ability some important changes in the constitution of the 
state and the relations between the peasants and the nobility. These 
pamphlets were the first productious of importance written, not in Lat- 
in or German, but in the Magyar tongue. Szecheny knew his coun- 
trymen well, and was aware how much favor might be conciliated for 
his schemes by this innovation in language. His arguments were di- 
rected chiefly against the tithes, road-tax, duty-services, and other feu- 


dal burdens on the land, and against the exemption of the nobility 
from taxation. He proposed to redeem the tithes and the road-tax by 
means of a national loan, after the example that had been successfully 
set in several of the German states. Following up warmly in the 
Diet the schemes which he had broached in his pamphlets, he soon 
had the satisfaction of finding himself at the head of a numerous and 
active party, both in the legislature and the country at large, who 
eagerly seconded his designs. The discussion was carried on with 
great spirit on both sides, and the interest which it excited threw all 
other subjects into the shade. " The old feudal edifice erected by St. 
Stephen, fortified by Andreas II., respected for three centuries by Aus- 
tria, was to open its gates to a more powerful assailant, the spirit of 
the age." The Diet of 1836 adopted several of Szecheny's proposed 
reforms ; other steps in the same direction were taken by that of 1840 ; 
and the discussion of others was interrupted only by the thunder of the 
revolutions of Paris and Vienna. Among the many disastrous conse- 
quences of those great convulsions, perhaps the most lamentable of 
all was the interruption, the ruin, of Szecheny's work of peaceful re- 
form in Hungary. 

The brilliant reputation which Szecheny acquired was earned as 
much by his temperance, and his regard for justice and the rights of 
all, as by the boldness of the changes that he proposed. " I wish," he 
remarked, " to awaken my countrymen so that they may walk, and 
not that they may throw themselves out of the window." His popu- 
larity became immense. His name was in every mouth, and the coun- 
ties vied with each other in sending him addresses of congratulation 
and rights of citizenship. When he arrived in any village, the peasants 
went out to meet him with music, and called him their father and liber- 
ator. The Diet of Transylvania sent him an entire gold pen several 
feet in length, and the national academy, the circle of nobility, and the 
institute of the Hungarian language, at the same time, elected him 
their president. His name was given to the first steamboat which 
glided down the lower Danube; and in every drawing room at Pesth, 
the stranger might see an engraving in which Szecheny appeared in a 
sort of apotheosis surrounded by luminous clouds, while beneath Hun- 
gary was represented as coming out of chaos, and the Danube, covered 
by vessels of all nations, flowed on majestically, not fretted by rocks 
or rapids, towards the sea. It is afflicting to be obliged to add, that 
when, in 1848, Count Szecheny saw his great work interrupted, his 
popularity overcast, his place usurped by demagogues and radicals of 
the lowest stamp, and his country wrapped in the flames of a civil 
war, the shock was too great for his reason, and he made an attempt 


on his life. He threw himself into the Danube, whence he was res- 
cued with difficulty, to be still preserved, let us hope, till he can again 
reap his reward from the returning reason of his countrymen. 

It is much to the credit of the Austrian government, that although 
Szecheny was the leader of the constitutional opposition in the Diet, 
it adopted nearly all his projects of reform, and submitted them, under 
the form of royal propositions, to be discussed by both houses. — 
Strange to say, also, these propositions were received with most favo r 
in the upper house ; many of the magnates, especially the younger 
ones, warmly welcomed the new ideas of progress and social reform. 

The opposition to Szecheny's plans proceeded chiefly from the 
inferior or untitled nobility, who feared that the overthrow of the 
ancient feudal constitution would also be the downfall of the inordinate 
privileges and political influence of their order. They were the only 
class who were benefitted by the retention of antiquated customs ; 
the magnates, with their vast landed estates, and having the entire 
control of the upper house in the Diet, would still be predominant in 
the state, even if their feudal privileges should be swept away. But 
the lesser nobles, many of whom are quite poor, would have no more 
power than the burghers of the free cities, or the wealthier class of the 
emancipated peasants, if the historical ground should be taken away 
from them, and the abuses and inequalities of the feudal system abol- 
ished. The ancient constitution of Hungary was made, as we have 
seen, solely for the benefit of this class ; in their favor, for the protec- 
tion of their order, the Golden Bull of Andreas II. had been issued. 
Hitherto every one of their number had called himself a member of 
the crown of Hungary ; he was a part of the sovereignty. Their idea 
of the constitution corresponded perfectly to Rousseau's definition of 
the government of Poland, " where the nobles are every thing, the 
burghers nothing, and the peasants less than nothing." Their only 
scheme of political conduct was to allow of no innovation in the 
ancient customs of the Magyars, and to manifest constant jealousy of 
the house of Austria, whose interests coincided with those of the 
oppressed peasants and of the subject races of the population, inasmuch 
as these ancient customs obstructed the political influence of all three. 
It suited the untitled nobles to declare, that they were contending for 
the ancient liberties of Hungary, when in fact they were opposing the 
emancipation of the peasants, and endeavoring to prevent the subject 
Sclavonians and Wallachians from breaking their chains. 

It was natural, therefore, that while Szecheny and the old liberal 
party, the constitutional opposition in the Diet, were gradually attract- 
ed towards the ministerialists because the ministry favored their plans 


of social amelioration, a new and more radical party should be formed 
behind them, whose politics consisted merely in inflexible resistance to 
the crown, and in opposition to Austrian influence on all occasions. 
Count Bathiany was the first leader of this new party ; but their course 
soon became too violent and excessive to be favored by any magnate, 
and his influence was superseded by that of Paul Nagy and Kossuth, 
two radical deputies who had become distinguished by their powers in 
debate. The latter of these is even a Magyar by birth,* who attended 
the Diet of 1836 in the very humble capacity of secretary of one of its 
members. He soon distinguished himself by publishing a manuscript 
journal of the proceedings, (a printed one being prohibited by the cen- 
sorship,) which journal was actually copied by hand, and circulated in 
considerable numbers through the country. Some of his other publi- 
cations transgressed the bounds of law more openly, so that he was 
apprehended and imprisoned for a time. When released, his popularity 
having grown through the persecution he had suffered, he was chosen 
a deputy, and became of course a more flaming patriot than ever. 
His extraordinary eloquence led captive the minds of his hearers, so 
that, after the revolution, he acquired the entire control of the Diet, 
and was finally appointed Supreme Dictator of Hungary during the 
war. In fact, Kossuth's party, ever since it was organized, has been 
endeavoring to effect a complete separation of Hungary from Austria, 
the preservation of feudal privileges and the domination of the Magyar 
race being of more importance in their eyes than the promotion of the 
commercial and other material interests of the country and the intel- 
lectual cultivation of its people. Szecheny and his friends, on the 
other hand, aware that Hungary would be thrown into an isolated and 
semibarbarous position if cut off from its present political connection 
with central and western Europe, have aimed to secure the assistance 
of Austria in developing the resources of the kingdom, adapting its 
institutions to the spirit of the age, and diffusing intelligence and 
refinement among its inhabitants. This party, and the magnates 
generally, seem to have remained passive during the late revolutionary 
war ; one of the Esterhazys is the only titled noble who appears to 
have acted with the insurgents. 

The question of language has had more influence than any other on 
the politics of Hungary for the last thirty years. In a country where 
there was so great confusion of tongues, it was absolutely necessary 
that some one language should be chosen for a universal medium in 
matters of government and legislation. The Latin. .has long been 

; f 

* Born in Jasz Bereny in 1807. 


adopted for this purpose, its use having come down fro the Middle 
Ages, when it was the general medium of learning throughout Europe, 
and its preservation in Hungary so long after it was abandoned else- 
where being due to the rivalry of different nationalities, two or three 
of which have been offended by the selection of any living language. 
The Latin was neutral ground, on which the German, the Magyar, 
the Sclavonian, and the Wallachian could meet without cause of 
offence. Joseph II. of Austria, a philosophical schemer who projected 
many excellent reforms, but spoiled them all by an excessive love of 
system and uniformity, and by a want of tact and discretion in carry- 
ing them out, nearly caused a repellion in Hungary by undertaking to 
make the German language universal there ; he required it to be used 
in all public acts, in all schools and seminaries of education, in civil 
offices, and in military command. The haughty Magyars had been 
already offended by the contempt he had manifested for their peculiar 
institutions ; he had altered the organization of the comitate, or coun- 
ties, those little federal republics first established by St. Stephen ; he 
had refused to be crowned king of Hungary, and had even carried 
away the golden crown from Buda to Vienna ; he had attempted to 
impose taxes on the nobles. These things they had borne, though 
sulkily ; but when he attempted to supplant their language by the 
hated German, the spirit of the nation was effectually roused, and 
their resistance became so menacing that he was obliged to revoke all 
his reforms, and reestablish Magyarism throughout Hungary. As he 
was not crowned at Buda, his acts were considered null, and they do 
not now appear on the statute book of the kingdom.* 

The Magyars had thus vindicated the respect due, to, their own 
vernacular tongue, but they were not willing to respect the language 
aiK[th^_J^iona4^idhng~^~ertht5rF." fi v consbintTy pressing the Aus- 
trian government on this point ever since 1800, they had at last suc- 
ceeded in causing the Latin to be supplanted by the Magyar language 
in the deliberations of the Diet and in the acts of the government; this 
change was not consummated tiU.1844 The few Sclavonians in the 
legislature were still allowed, as of necessity, to address the assembly 
in Latin, and the government officials sometimes spoke German, though 
they risked their popularity by so doing. Having carried this point 

* This wise, generous and most humane Monarch, emancipated also the peasants in 
Hungary from the oppression of their spiritual and corporal tyrants ; he granted them 
free lands, &c. ; but these humane acls were by the Magyars execrated and regarded as 
diabolical attempts directed against their feudal rights. The rebels addressed the 
Emperor in th* following manner : " Josephe Secunde, Cassar vagabunde, audaciam a 
patre, pertinaciam a matre, religionem unde accepisti, Josephe Secunde, Csesar vagar 
bunde." . 


against the imperialists, the Magyars attempted to impose their lan- 
guage upon the subject races, and to oblige them to use it upon all 
occasions. The schoolmasters and the clergy, in every province and 
every village, though it might be inhabited exclusively by Sclavonians 
and Wallachians, were ordered to teach and to preach only in the 
Magyar tongue. This law created great irritation everywhere, but 
especially in Croatia. This province is in the same situation with 
regard to Hungary, that Hungary holds in respect to Austria. — 
Together with its sister province of Sclavonia, it has a diet of its own, 
which meets at Agram, and is allowed to send three representatives to 
the general Hungarian Diet at Presburg or Pesth. The chief of these 
two provinces, who is styled the Ban of Croatia, holds the same relative 
position that the Palatine does in Hungary ; he is responsible directly 
to the emperor, is chosen by the Croatian Diet, and claims to act 
independently of the Palatine. The Croats were very willing to 
abandon the Latin for the sake of their own language, but not for the 
purpose of speaking the Magyar. They echoed back with one voice 
the declaration of their Diet, nolumus Magyarisari. The national 
feeling was effectually roused on this subject, and the Hungarian law 
was reprobated as both insulting and injurious. The Slowacks of the 
north of Hungary united with them in resistance to the law ; and the 
Sclavonians generally were attracted towards the emperor, and sought, 
by increasing the influence of Austria, to erect for themselves a barrier 
against the haughty dominion of the Magyars. Ever since 1830, the 
deputies of Croatia in the Hungarian Diet have acted Avith the Austrian 
ministry, and supported the propositions of the Crown. 

The quarrel between the Magyars and the Croatian s has brought 
out in strong relief the characteristics of the two races. Brave, high- 
spirited, and imperious, the former treated the complaints of their an- 
cient subjects, as they consider them, with scorn, and heaped new pro- 
vocations on them just at the moment when they were bringing upon 
themselves a desperate conflict with Austria. More patient and politic, 
the Croatians took measures to secure the aid both of the emperor and 
of the Russians before they threw defiance in the teeth of the Mag- 
yars. Kollar, Gaj, and Jellachich had skillfully excited their national 
feelings, and they acted together with great firmness and unanimity. 
They exposed very fully the inconsistency of the Magyars, who 
thought it natural and right to enfranchise themselves from all foreign 
dominion, and to reconquer their individuality as a nation and a race ; 
but who were astonished and indignant, that the Illyrians and the Wal- 
lachians, living within the borders of Hungary, should experience the 
same desire and cherish the same hopes. The Croatians held high 


and menancing language to compel the emperor to espouse their quar. 
rel. In a memorial addressed to him before hostilities had broken out, 
they exclaimed, " Emperor, if you reject our prayers, we shall know 
how to vindicate our liberty without you ; and we prefer to die heroic- 
ally, like a Sclavonian people, rather than to bear any longer such a 
yoke as is imposed upon us by an Asiatic horde, from whom we have 
nothing good to receive or to learn. Emperor, know that we prefer, 
if we must choose between them, the knout of the Russians to the in- 
solence of the Magyars. We will not, on any terms, belong to the 
Magyars. Remember that, if Croatia forms but a thirty -fifth part of 
your empire, the Croatians constitute a third of your whole infantry." 
Asa farther illustration of the spirit of the people at this time, we 
give a translation of a Sclavonian song, written by one of their patri- 
ots, which obtained great popularity throughout the lllyrian provinces ■ 

"Whoever is a Sclavonian and a h ero, let him wave his banner in the air! let him 
gird on his sabre, and mount his fiery steed. Forward, brothers ! God is with us, and 
the devils are our enemies. 

" See how the black and savage Tartar i* treading our nation and our language un- 
der foot. Let us resist before he prostrates us. Forward, brothers ! God is with us, 
and the devils are our enemies. 

" Let the brave Sclavonian of the North and the lllyrian of the South join hands at 
this festival. Behold already the gleam of their lances, hear the sound of the trumpets 
and the thunder of the cannon. Forward, brothers ! God is with us, and the devils 
are our enemies. 

"The time is come to wash ourselves in the blood of our enemies. Let each one, 
then, strike down a head. Forward, brothers ! God is with us, and the devils are our 

The Sclavonians were not the only enemies within the bosom of their 
country whom the Magyars provoked. The Germans, who had found- 
ed cities in the interior, establishing themselves as commercial and 
manufacturing colonists in the midst of this rude and warlike agricul- 
tural population, were made to feel their isolated positon, and the arro- 
gance of the aristocratic masters of the soil around them. The lines 
of separation between the heterogeneous races were preserved with 
Jewish scrupulousness ; each has retained its language, features, dress, 
and occupation unchanged for centuries. The situation of the Ger- 
mans is most peculiar in the extreme eastern and south-eastern prov- 
inces, in Transylvania and the Banat. Here they are surrounded by 
the rude and fierce Szeklers, a race who are born soldiers, allied in 
blood and language to the Magyars, whom they preceded a century 
or two in the occupation of the country. Their banner is indicative of 
their character ; it bears a heart pierced through and through with a 
sword. Amid this half-barbarous people, in a rugged and mountain- 
ous country at the extreme limit of European civilization towards the 


east, a colony from the heart of Germany was established in the course 
of tne twelfth century ; and in spite of the disadvantages of their sit- 
ation, they have increased in numbers and wealth. Their blood is still 
as pure as when they first left the fatherland ; their fresh aud smiling 
German faces, their fair hair and light complexion, indicate their origin 
as clearly, as do their prudent and economical habits, and their dogged 
industry. These grave and honest burghers are republicans by descent 
and in predilection ; they reject all aristocracy, and choose their ma- 
gistrates by universal suffrage. In many respects they remind one of 
the flourishing commercial towns of the Middle Ages ; like them, they 
are guarded with high walls and strong fortifications against the semi- 
barbarous people without, who are all warriors, and who are organized 
like a camp on the frontiers. If need be, these flourishing citizens will 
fight stoutly in defence of the walls which guard their shops and their 

The Magyars, Szeklers, and the Germans formed a treaty at Torda 
in the fifteenth century, to divide Transylvania between them — the two 
former to do all the fighting, and the latter to keep the cities and strong- 
holds. They are the three sovereign nations, as they call themselves, 
though they number all together less than a million ; while the subject 
nations, most of whom are Wallachans, amount to a million and a 
half. These had no part in the union of Torda, which united the 
three races, and therefore are allowed no political or civil rights. — 
They cannot elect their magistrates, nor fill public offices ; they are 
serfs, and cultivate the fields of their masters. The Magyars, though 
so few in number, helped themselves to three-fourths of the soil of Tran- 
sylvania ; the north and the west, including Carlsbourg, the capital, 
ave theirs. The Germans, or Saxons as they are here called, hold the 
flourishing cities of Cronstadt and Hermanstadt, with the rich territo- 
ry in the south, and the district of Bistritz in the north. Their towns 
were originally fortified not more against the- Turks than against the 
Magyars; and they have just had renewed occasion to use them 
against these foes, whose desperate valor, however, was not repelled 
by them. Naturally attached to Germany and to republican institu- 
tions, they saw with dismay, after the grand democratic outbreak of 
1848, that the Magyars were separating all Hungary from Austria^ 
with a view of preserving their own aristocratic institutions, and lord- 
ing it more imperiously than ever over the other races that inhabited 
the land. They immediately sent a delegate to the federative Congress 
at Frankfort to ask for aid and protection ; but the theorists in this dis- 
tracted assembly had neither troops nor money to send them, and they 
were left to their fate — to the arrogance of the Magyars whom they 



had offended by this step, and to the ruthless hostility of the Szeklers. 
The following is an extract from the address sent by the municipality 
of Hermanstadt, on the 9th of June, 1848, through their delegate to 
the Frankfort Assembly. 

" German brothers, seven centuries ago, a branch of the nationa 
tree, the gigantic oak of Germany, was planted in the oriental valleys 
of the Carpathian mountains ; its extended roots have penetrated to the 
soil of the fatherland, and continually drawn nourishment from it. 
The air and the light of Germany have continued to warm and to cheer 
us. In the midst of the aristocratic and feudal institutions of the other 
races which threaten to stifle our civilization, we have remained Ger- 
man citizens. Yes, brothers ; in spite of the local separation, we have 
preserved with old German fidelity the manners and the language of our 
common ancestors. At the moment when the European edifice is 
everywhere crumbling into ruin, the legislator, like Archimedes, needs 
a fixed point on which to rest and sustain the world. This point has 
been found. Let the German fatherland extend to every region where 
the German language is spoken. With our whole hearts we will join 
you in causing our national airs to resound from the banks of the 
Vistula to those of the Rhine. The children have not forgotten their 
mother, the mother has not forgotten her children. Generous voices 
have spoken in the imperial city, in this very assembly, in favor of 
maintaining the rights of Transylvanian Germany ; we wish, indeed, 
that our great and powerful fatherland had used a bolder tone, and 
not restricted itself to entreating the little nation of Magyars, but had 
ordered it to respect the German nationality." 

In this general turmoil, the Wailachians, also, were moved to de- 
mand a restoration of those rights, the common rights of humanity, of 
which they had been deprived for centuries. Some of the younger 
members of the Greek clergy inspired them with a generous ambition, 
and taught them to shake impatiently the yoke of subjection and hel- 
otism which had'so long weighed upon their necks. The example of 
their brethren across the frontier, also, in the principalities of Moldavia 
and Wallachia, who had recently driven off some of their petty local 
tyrants, had given them new ideas of freedom and new hopes of ame- 
liorating their situation by their own efforts. They made common 
cause with the republican Germans, and contributed not a little to 
distract the attention and divide the forces of the Magyar insurgents. 

The war in Hungary, then, was by no means so simple an affair 
as most persons, have imagined. It was not a combined effort of tha 
whole people of a subjugated province striving to regain their national 
independence. Hungary never was conquered by Austria ; but she 
sought and continued the alliance as a means of protection against the 


Turks, and of commercial and political union with central ami western 
Europe. It was not a republican movement, or the rising of the lower 
classes in the state against the higher, with a view of securing a more 
equal distribution of political rights and social advantages. Repub- 
licanism was never pretended by the Magyars, and is not even men- 
tioned in their Declaration of independence. It was an attempt on 
the part of the Magyar untitled nobility, 000,000 in number, to pre- 
serve the ancient feudal constitution of the state, which guarantied 
their aristocratic privileges and the dominion- of their race, against the 
liberal constitution granted by the emperor of Austria, which destroy- 
ed all distinctions of rank and race, and established the modern ideas 
of equal representation, equal suffrage, the freedom of the press, and 
the liberty of individuals, on the ruins of feudalism. 

In the general mette that ensued, each party and race fought on its 
own hook ; each formed alliances and sought support with a view only 
to t .„■ exigences of the moment, and without the slighest reference to 
the political and social doctrines of those whose aid they invoked, and 
whose cause they really subserved. The Magyars, aristocrats in a 
double sense, both as an order and a race, and now in arms to preserve 
their obsolete feudal institutions, made common cause with the Red 
Republicans of Vienna, who, like their brethren throughout Europe, 
aimed simply at the inversion of the old order of things, and the utter 
destruction of all existing forms of society and government. The 
Croats and other Slavonians, democratic in their instincts and pur- 
poses, fought gallantly to assist the emperor of Austria in crushing the 
insurgent nobility of Hungary. The republican German burghers of 
Transylvania united themselves first with the. Wallachian serfs whose 
petition for emancipation they had just rejected, and then invited the 
Russians into the country to protect them from the merciless hostility 
of the Magyars and the Szeklers. At their call, Russia hastened to 
help them, and acted \>ith magnanimity and forbearance; she entered 
Hungary only at the request and under the obligation of humanity, 
to protect the helpless Germans and Wallachians; her army crushed 
the insurrection by one decisive blow, and then, although the country 
was entirely in her power, and the Sclavonians, who form more than 
half of its population, would gladly have become her subjects, she has 
quietly withdrawn her troops without making any demand for the ex- 
penses of the war, or any stipulation for her own territorial aggran- 

This statement of the case will take most persons in this country 
by surprise ; for deceived by the prose dithyrambics of Kossuth, by 
the romantic history, chivalrous daring, and theatrical garb and man- 


ner of the Magyars, and by the prodigious lies of the ultra republican 
press in German}', which spread a fresh report of the utter annihilation 
of the Austrian and Russian armies once a fortnight, we had generally 
come to believe, that the republican cause in Europe depended on the 
success of the insurrection in Hungary, and that this cause was almost 
sure to succeed from the unparalleled bravery and activity of the 
Magyars. The newspapers here attacked the American President 
with severity, because he did not immediately recognize the indepen- 
dence of Hungary, and send out a special minister to conclude an 
offensive and defensive alliance with the gallant insurgents. It is true, 
that we can never have any intercourse or connection with this isola- 
ted country in the east of Europe, which has not a single seaport,' any 
more than with the Cham of Tartary ; but this fact is of no impor- 
tance in the eyes of those who believe that the spirit of propagandism 
is the essence of republican institutions. But the cause of the Magyars 
was bad ; they sought to defend their antiquated feudal institutions, 
and their unjust and excessive privileges as an order and a race, against 
the incursion of the liberal ideas and the reformatory spirit of the nine- 
teenth century. 

We can notice only very briefly a few incidents in the history of the 
struggle which illustrate those peculiarities in the internal condition of 
Hungary that we have endeavored to point out. When the revolution 
of .arch at Vienna, and the flight of Metternich, had seemingly dis- 
solved the Austrian empire, and left each of its component parts to 
crystallize into new forms under its own internal affinities, as many 
distinct revolutionary movements were made as there were different 
races which had hitherto acknowledged the authority of the emperor. 
The people of Venice and Lombardy threw off all connection with 
Germany, and sought a union with the Italian patriots throughout the 
peninsula. The radical party in the Hungarian Diet at once obtained 
the ascendancy, and decreed that Hungary in future should have an 
independent administration and a separate ministry, including even a 
department for foreign affairs ; that is, it decided to retain all the 
advantages, but to acknowledge none of the reciprocal obligations, of 
its connection with Austria. Hard as these conditions were, they 
were accepted without remonstrance by the terrified and powerless 
imperial government. The two races who form the population of 
Bohemia broke out into open hostilities against each other ; the Czechs 
or Sclavonians, numbering nearly three millions, sought to avenge 
themselves for the long subjection in which they had been held by the 
Germans, who are hardly half as numerous. They demanded, among 
other things, that the two races should be admitted to an equality of 

36 the war of races in Hungary. 

political rights, and that all public officers should be required to speak 
both languages. The Emperor instantly granted all they asked. The 
Czechs of Moravia and Silesia joined the movement, and a call was 
issued for a grand congress, to meet at Prague on the 31st of May, to 
take measures for establishing Sclavonic independence on a firm basis. 

Meanwhile, the Croatians and other Sclavonians of the south were 
not idle. The Ban Jellachich invited all the Austro-Sclavonic coun- 
tries to send delegates to a Diet to be held at Agram, on the 5th of 
June; he also opened communications with Count Leo Thun, the 
leader of the Czech party in Bohemia, and proposed to act in concert 
with him in all measures intended to promote the emancipation and 
welfare of the race to which they both belonged. But the headlong 
zeal of the Bohemian Sclavonians wellnigh made shipwreck of the 
whole affair. The}' established an independent provisional govern- 
ment on the 29th of May ; but the ministry at Vienna denounced this 
provisional government, and Prince Windischgratz, then the Austrian 
governor of Prague, encouraged by the German citizens who rallied 
around him, took a firm stand in opposition to the revolutionists, and 
expostulated with them on their mad proceedings. The Sclavonians 
were roused to fury, and a mob of them having beset his palace, a 
conflict ensued, and the Princess Windischgratz was killed by a musket 
shot. The bereaved husband still remonstrated with them in mild lan- 
guage, but instead of listening to him, they pressed forward j^et more 
eagerly, and attempted to seize him as a hostage. The troops then 
interfered, and after a short but sharp conflict, the rioters were driven 
back, and Windischgratz left the city with his forces, and took post 
on the^ neighboring heights. There he was soon joined by Count 
Mensdorff with troops from Vienna, and as the insurgents continued 
obstinate, he commenced bombarding the city on the 15th of June. 
In two days, the greater part of Prague was laid in ashes, and the 
Czechs were compelled to surrender. Then, of course, the Sclavonian 
congress and the provisional government were dissolved; and both 
races in Bohemia, exhausted by the conflict and pained by the desola- 
tion it had caused, resumed their allegiance to the emperor, and waited 
for the gradual development of political reform. 

During the short ascendency of the Czechs, they had induced or 
compelled the government at Vienna to admit one of their leaders, 
Palazky, into the imperial ministry. The pride of the Magyars took 
fire at this concession to the Sclavonian race, and Count Bathiany, 
their envoy at Vienna, remonstrated in strong terms against the 
measure, as it tended to encourage the Slowacks, who were already 
in rebellion in the north of Hungary. On the other hand, Jellachich 


and the Cvoatians supported Palazky. The emperor, who, in the 
middle of May, had secretly left his capital and taken refuge at Inn- 
spruck, temporized at first ; but as the conduct of the Czechs at 
Prague grew more outrageous, he became more hostile to the Sclavo- 
nian cause, and summoned the Ban to meet him in the Tyrol, and to 
give an account of his conduct. Jellachich not only refused, but 
attended the Sclavonian Diet which he had called at A gram, where he 
was formerly elected Ban by that assembly, having hitherto held his 
office by imperial appointment. The Emperor then denounced him as 
a rebel, and ordered him to be deprived of all his offices and titlew; 
the Austrian Marshal Hrabowsky, with a considerable body of troops, 
was sent to enforce these commands by the invasion of Crotia and 
Sclavonia. The cities of Carlowitz and Neustadt were immediately 
invested by the Marshal, and compelled to surrender, the former after 
a severe bombardment. 

The cause of the Sclavonians now seemed hopeless, and but for the 
politic conduct of Jellachich and his advisers, their race would proba- 
bly have been reduced to their former political insignificance and sub- 
jection. Threatened by the Magyars, and actually invaded by the 
Austrians, the insurrection of the Czechs being entirely suppressed, 
and that of the Slowacks being too feeble and isolated to afford any 
material aid to the Croatians, the cause was lost if the latter could 
not effect a compromise with one of the parties now in arms against 
them. The haughty and warlike Magyars would make no terms with 
those whom they regarded as their revolted subjects, whom they had 
ruled wifcto absolute dominion for ten centuries. A conference between 
Jellachich and Bathiany at Vienna, in July, 1848, only showed that 
the hostility of the two races was implacable. When they separated, 
the latter exclaimed, " We shall meet again on the Drave," the 
northern boundary of Croatia ; " No," answered Jellachich, " but on 
the Danube." The Ban then proceeded to Innspruck, where he satis- 
fied his royal master, that his countrymen would gladly continue their 
allegiance to the house of Austria, if they should be allowed to retain 
their language, and to enjoy those rights which the emperor had 
promised to all his subjects. To contend against them, he said, was 
only to assist the Magyars ; for if subdued, the} 7 must become subjects 
of Hungary, which country now retained only a nominal connection 
with the empire. < The Magyars were the common enemies of the 
imperialists and the Croatians ; they asserted their independence of 
the former, while striving to rivet their chains upon the latter. To 
adopt the cause of the Croatians would be to conciliate all the Sclavo- 
nians, who formed more than half of the population of the empire ; 


while the Magyars numbered but little over four millions, and were 
hated alike by Wallachians, Germans, and Sclavonians, at the same 
time that they were disloyal to the emperor. 

These reasons being conclusive, the emperor did not hesitate to 
unite the imperial forces with the Croatians and to commission the Ban 
Jellachich himself, to put down the insurrection in Hungary. This ar- 
rangement, however, was kept secret for a time, to await the result of 
negotiation with the Magyars. But this haughty and imperious race 
aited for no compromise, and their spirits only rose as the number of 
eir enemies increased. Their Diet voted an extraordinary contribu- 
tion of a hundred millions of florins, a levy of two hundred thousand 
men, and an issue of two hundred millions of paper money. It was 
also proposed to recall the Hungarian regiments that were serving un- 
der Radetsky in Lombardy ; but Kossuth cried out " Beware what 
you do ! They are Croats and Sclavonians whom you wish to recall." 
The old liberal party of the constitutional opposition in the Diet, led 
by such men as Szecheny and Deak, and even Bathiany, who was far 
more radical in his politics, protested against these headlong proceed- 
ings, and recommended delay and negotiation ; but the danger was 
imminent, the excitement was intense, and as usual in such cases, the 
fanatics and ultraists, headed by Kossuth and Szemeree, carried every 
thing their own way. It was when defeated in debate on this occa- 
sion, that the noble Szecheny, seeing that his influence was lost, and 
the fate of his country w^is sealed by the madness of its demagogues, 
made an attempt upon his own life The magnates generally aban- 
doned the cause at thiscrisis ; they would not fight against «their coun- 
trymen, but neither could they lead them onwards to certain destruc- 
tion. They retired to their estates, or left the country. Kossuth and 
the untitled nobles, assisted by the peasants of their race, alone pro- 
voked the contest ; and never did a large body of men fight more gal- 
lantly in support of an unwise, unjust, and desperate undertaking. 

Their situation, indeed, was perilous in the extreme. Early in Sep- 
tember, 1848, Jellachich took the command of all the imperial troops 
in Croatia and Sclavonia, the Austrian Marshal Hrabowsky quietly re- 
signing his post to him, and prepared to cross the Drave and march 
upon Pesth. The venerable Greek patriarch Raiachich, putting aside 
his sacred functions for a time, led an irregular force of brave but un- 
trained Sclavonian volunteers, collected from the borders of the Banat, 
to lay waste the country of the Magyars in the south-east. The Slo 
wacks were in arms in the north ; and the Wallachians of Transylva- 
nia threatened an insurrection in the east. The Diet of this province, 
in which the Magyars and Szeklers formed a large majority, had just 


voted, it is true, to make common cause with Hungary ; but the Sax- 
ons, far from joining in this vote, were outraged by it; and the irrita- 
ted Wallachians, forming more than half of the whole population, 
made the opposition in this quarter still more formidable. A regiment 
of them, hastily conducted by their Magyar officers as far as Szege- 
din, suddenly halted, wheeled about, and marched back again to their 
mountains. To this circle of foes the Magyars as yet could oppose 
only a few regiments of cavalry, for the Hungarian infantry was chief- 
ly made up of Sclavonians. and time was required to bring together 
and discipline the great levy which the Diet had decreed, and which 
soon became '' the insurrection." To gain time for raising these forces, 
and to avenge the defection of the emperor from their cause, the Mag- 
yars resolved to wage war against him in his own capital. 

The radicals at Vienna formed hardly a tenth part of the constitu- 
ent assembly ; but they had on their side the dregs of the populace, 
and the " academical legion." composed not only of the youth of the 
university, but of Polish, Italian, and German refugees, the reckless 
Free Companions of the revolutionary cause throughout Europe. — 
Some who haii manned the barricades of June at Paris came to fight 
against the emperor at Vienna in September. The grave citizens, the 
bourgeoisie, who dreaded a recurrence of the confusion and anarchy 
of the preceding spring, and therefore had welcomed their sovereign 
when he returned from Innspruck, regarded the signs of another insur- 
rection with dismay, but had not spirit and bravery enough to protect 
themselves against a desperate faction. The Magyars determined to 
agitate these elements of sedition and civil war, and thus to give the 
imperialist troops emplo}'ment at home for a while, till the means of 
resistance could be organized in Hungary ; and the offer of their aid 
from without was eagerly accepted by the revolutionists within the 
city. A deputation from the Hungarian Diet came to Vienna on the 
10th of September, to make known their demands to the emperor, 
which were that he should approve their recent votes tor raising men 
and money, should again denounce Jellachich and the Sclavonians as 
rebels, and should come to take up his residence at Pesth among Mag- 
yars, so as to give a visible and undoubted sanction to their proceed- 
ings. These demands being refused, the deputation, one hundred and 
sixty in number, sullenly withdrew ; and when they had reached the 
steamer, they tore down the Austro-Hungarian colors, raised the red 
flag, and returned down the Danube. The color adopted was a sig- 
nificant one, and it excited so much indignation at Presburg, the former 
place of meeting of the Magyar Diet, that the boat was fired at from 
the bank. But both at Vienna and at Pesth, the populace greeted it 


with shouts. Another deputation, sent a week afterwards to the con- 
stituent assembly at Vienna, was refused an audience; and the indig- 
nant Magyars instantly proclaimed Kossuth dictator with full powers, 
and sent out forces to meet Jellachich, who had already crossed the 
Drave. Yet the emperor made one other attempt at pacification, 
though it was obvious that the hour had passed. Count Lamberg, a 
marshal of the empire, was sent to Pesth with full powers to treat and 
to take command of the forces. The count bravely set out on foot 
from Buda, without an escort, to cross the river and hold a conference 
with the Diet in Pesth. But he was arrested by a furious mob on the 
bridge, and though he claimed protection as a minister of peace be- 
tween the emperor and Kossuth, he was brutally murdered, and his re- 
mains were treated with shocking indignity. 

The crisis had now arrived, and important events succeeded each 
other with great rapidity. The emperor issued a proclamation de- 
nouncing Kossuth and his partisans, dissolving the Diet, annulling its 
previous acts, proclaiming martial law throughout Hungary, and ap- 
pointing the Ban Jellachich commander of all the imperial forces there, 
with full powers as royal commissioner. Some of the troops then at 
Vienna were ordered to march to the assrstance of Jellachich ; but 
when they attempted to leave the city, the insurrection, fed with sup- 
plies of men and money by the Magj^ars, broke out with great 
violence. The national assembly was overawed, the emperor was 
again obliged to fly, Count Latour, the minister of war, was murdered 
and his body was hung up for hours as a target for the insurgents to 
fire at, and terrorism was again triumpnant in Vienna. The Czechs 
of Bohemia, so recently subdued by the cannon of Windischgratz, now 
joined hands with their brother Sclavonians from Croatia ; they adopted 
the emperor's cause with enthusiasm, and invited him to transfer his 
residence to his loyal city of Prague, where every other house had 
been half ruined by his artillery. Prince Windischgratz, with his ranks 
recruited from these reconciled subjects of the empire, moved up his 
army to assist Von Auersperg in the investment of Vienna ; and Jel- 
lachich, already advanced half way in his northward course from the 
Drave towards Pesth, turned quickly to the northwest, and, passing by 
Raab, came to interpose with his corps between the city and the suc- 
cor which the insurgents had been led to expect from Hungary. The 
Magyar " insurrection" was not yet brought into the field and organ- 
ized, so that but few troops could be sent to the assistance of the Vien- 
nese ; and these came late, and were easily defeated and driven back 
by the Ban. Kossuth, it must be confessed, made politic use of his 
radical friends in the capital; their outbreak, into, which he had in- 


cited them, gave employment for several weeks to three armies of the 
imperialists, which would otherwise have been immediately directed 
upon Hungary, where they would have crushed the rebellion before 
its forces were developed. The interval afforded by the seige of Vienna 
was employed by the Magyars in collecting their forces, and forming 
their plans for the desperate struggle which was to come. Vienna 
was taken by assault on the 31st of October,* Blum and Messenhau- 
ser, two leaders of the insurgents, were shot, and a third, Bern, the 
celebrated Polish refugee, escaped only by taking the place of a corpse 
in a bier, and was carried out of the gates by the funeral procession. — 
Faithful to his profession as a military propagandist of the revolution- 
ary cause in many lands, Bern hastened to offer his services to the 
Magyars, and received the command of their forces in Transylvania- 
Windischgratz and Jellachich led their forces down the Danube to the 
capture of Pesth, and the war in Hungary was fairly begun. 

Even at this late hour, had the Magyars been willing to adopt a 
conciliatory policy, and to promise to the Croats and other Sclavo- 
nians that they should be admitted to an equality of civil and political 
rights with themselves, should be allowed to speak their own language, 
to elect their own provincial rulers, and to be represented in the 
national Diet in proportion to their numbers, the whole population of 
Hungary, including its dependent provinces, might have been united 
in arms, and Austria must have withdrawn her forces in despair. A 
country inhabited by fourteen millions of people, unanimous in their 
desire to be free, could never have been subdued by armies from 
without. So strongly were the Polish refugees impressed with this 
truth, that they repeatedly urged Kossuth and his party to negotiate 
with the Croatians; Dembinski, their ablest general, had quitted Paris 
on the stipulated condition with the agent of Hungary, who had been 
sent to ask his aid and that of iris exiled countrymen, that the Magyars 
should consent to make a treaty with the Sclavonians, and guarantee 
to them their local liberties and their nationality. Uniting his influence 
with that of Bern, for the Poles, being themselves a Sclavonic race, 
were all anxious to unite their Croatian and Slowack brethren with 
them in hostility to Austria, he succeeded in causing the forces of the 
insurgents to be denominated the Magyar-Sclavonic army. But thfs 
was the whole concession which they were able to extort from their 

* The people of Vienna afterwards avenged themselves by caricatures on the Mag- 
yars, who had promised to die for the German democracy, and had done so little to keep 
their word. One print represented a member of tlie Academical Legion, on the top of 
the tower of St. Stephen's, turning a telescope towards Hungary, and saying, " I do 
not see that anybody is coming." 



allies. The Magyars were fighting to support the old dominion of 
their race and the ancient constitution of Hungary, which secured to 
them, though they were less than four and a half millions in number, 
the entire control ol a country peopled by fourteen millions. To 
make terms with Jellachich would be to give up the whole object of 
the war ; for the union with Austria had never been felt by them as a 
burden, and ever since the Vienna revolution of March, 1848, that 
union had been merely nominal. With an independent Diet, an inde- 
pendent ministry, and a Palatine elected by themselves, they could 
dictate their own terms to the crippled and distracted empire ; and of 
their own accord, they had kept up for six months an apparent con- 
nection with it, as both their political and commercial interests would 
have suffered from an absolute separation. The war had originated in 
September, in what they called " the rebellion" of the Croatians, the 
Slowacks, the Wallachians, and the Saxon colonists of Transylvania ; 
and some time elapsed before Austria became fairly involved in it by 
espousing the cause of " the Sclavons." Consequently, the first object 
of the Magyars was to crush their internal foes ; while the Polish 
exiles, their allies, sought only to avenge their country's ancient 
wrongs by destroying the Austrian empire, and even menacing the 
Czar. This division of purpose caused a division also of the forces of 
the insurgents. In the south and east, Bern and Dembinski com- 
manded each a separate partisan corps, a motley collection of exiles, 
deserters, and fugitives of whatever race ; for as these generals had 
no antipathy to the other Hungarian races, they sought to entice as 
many of them as possible to their own standards, and to wage a war 
of extermination against those who continued to act with the enemy. 
The main body of the Magyars, being thus protected in their rear and 
on their flanks from the Sclavonic, Wallachian, and Saxon insurgents, 
were free to act under Gorgey, a general of their own race, against the 
forces of the Austrians, whom they would probably have overmatched, 
if the impolitic and ruthless conduct of Bern had not afforded a 
pretence for the emperor Nicholas to enter into the conflict. 

We cannot follow in detail the history of the war, and can notice 
but briefly the circumstances which led to the most important event in 
it, the intervention of Russia. Nowhere was the outbreak of actual 
hostilities regarded with more dismay than in Transylvania. The 
unhappy Saxons and Wallachians found themselves exposed to the 
utmost fury of the Magyars and Szeklers, while, by their isolated 
position in the east, they were deprived of all hope of succor from 
Austria and the west of Germany. The great central plain of Hun- 
gary was occupied by the Magyar " insurrection," now developed to 


its full extent ; Jellachich and his Croatians in the south had now 
enough to do to defend themselves. Central Hungary is traversed by 
two great rivers, the Danube and the Theiss, running from north to 
south, and forming excellent successive lines of defence. Far in the 
west, the imperialist army had to cross this vast and defensible plain, 
admirably suited for the operations of cavalry, in which the chief 
strength of the Hungarians consisted, and to vanquish the whole 
Magyar nation, before they could throw troops into Transylvania. 
The first object of Kossuth was to put down with great severity all 
opposition in this province, so that the Magyars might be protected in 
their rear, and, if necessary, might retreat safely in that quarter into a 
woody and mountainous region. Bands of the fierce and warlike 
Szeklers were therefore sent out in all directions, who hunted the 
unarmed Wallachian peasants like wolves, and menaced the fortified 
cities of the Saxons. Terror everywhere prevailed, as the Austrian 
general Puchner, who commanded in the province, had only a few 
troops, who could offer no serious defence. The grave German 
burghers were unused to war, and the Wallachians were an unarmed 
and undisciplined crowd. 

But a hasty attempt was made to organize their means of protec- 
tion. A junto of government was formed, under the presidency of 
Puchner, consisting of two deputies from the Saxon cities, and the 
Greek bishop Schaguna, who, with a rich merchant, named Argidau, 
represented the Wallachians. The district of Bistritz, in the north, 
was already in possession of the enemy, and such forces as this junto 
could collect were drawn together to cover (ronstadt and Hernian- 
stadt in the south. Against these cities, in January, 1849, General 
Bern, who had left his coffin, advanced at the head of 10,000 men, 
composed of Poles, Szeklers, Kossuth's hussars, and a few Wal- 
lachians incorporated by compulsion with their enemies. He marched 
rapidly through the duchy, ravaging and burning on his way the Wal- 
lachian villages and Saxon settlements in the upper country, and 
driving the few Austrian troops towards Hermanstadt. Fugitives 
coming from every quarter, and driving before them their weaned 
beasts and flocks, sought refuge in this city ; looking back fi om its 
walls, they could see the smoke of their burning villages, and fancy 
that they heard the cries of the aged and the feeble, who had fallen on 
the road, and were now suffering all the extremities of civil war from 
the savage Szeklers. As Bern's object was to terrify the poor Wal- 
lachian peasants into inaction during the war, and as their former 
degraded condition and their use of a different language caused his 
men to regard them hardly as human beings, though they were to be 


punished as runaway and contumacious serfs, the atrocities committed 
by his army almost exceed belief. An English officer, who was taken 
prisoner by him at Clausenburg, and detained for weeks under a con- 
stantly repeated threat of being tried by a drumhead court martial and 
shot, gives a vivid account of the barbarity of his troops. 

" At Marosvasarhely," he writes, " in the prison where I slept, a 
Wallachian priest and his nephew were murdered at my side ; the 
soldiers had been ordered to conduct them to Debreczin, but they 
wished to save themselves this trouble. Six Saxons had the same fate, 
and were shot down by the soldiers who had been detailed to guard 
them. But few detachments of prisoners arrived at their destination : 
they were generally murdered in some defile. On the morning of the 
12th of March, while passing through the last forest which separated 
us from the frontier, we suddenly heard a volley of musketry ; a quar- 
ter of an hour afterwards, we came to an opening in the woods, where 
I found the bodies, still warm, of seventeen Wallachians. The 
Szeklers who had just shot them joined my escort, and when asked if 
their prisoners had given them any cause of complaint, ' No, truly/ 
answered one of them ; ' but thank God, there are now alive seven- 
teen Wallachians less than there were yesterday.' " 

We may imagine how much consternation was created by the ap- 
pearance of Bern's army before Hermanstadt, the fortifications of 
which, once strong, were now quite capable of resisting an attack. — 
The dismayed Saxons sent an urgent request to General Luder, who 
commanded a small Russian army in the neighboring principality, that 
he would hasten to their protection. Bishop Schagum and Professor 
Grottfried hastened to Bucharest, that they might represent to the Rus- 
sian commander the imminent peril in which the city was placed. — 
They urge I that they were cut off from all communication with the 
Austrian government, and in view of the massacre of their country- 
men and the pillage of their towns, they appealed to the generosity of 
their neighbors to protect them. They solicited a purely local inter- 
vention, as neither government as yet had solicited or offered a more 
general cooperation of their forces. Puchner at first refused to join 
in this application, but finally sanctioned it when the peril seemed 
more imminent. Common humanity, or the secret orders of his gov- 
ernment, which might have anticipated this conjuncture of events, may 
have induced Luder to grant the succor that was asked. At any rate, 
on the 1st of February, General Engelhardt, at the head of 10,000 
Russians, entered Transylvania, and occupied both Hermanstadt and 
Cronstadt. The Austrian ministry were so far from being pleased at 
this event, that they despatched a courier with orders to prevent the 
admission of the Russians ; and when he came too late, another was 


sent to urge them to withdraw. Elated by the first rapid success of 
the imperialists, by the capture of Pesth and the withdrawal of the 
Magyars to the line of the Theiss, the Austrians thought they should 
be able to end the war without foreign aid. But the desperate valor 
of the Hungarians soon changed the current of events ; and when his 
armies were driven back on all sides, and even Vienna was menaced, 
the emperor himself was compelled to solicit that aid which he had at 
first rebuked his subjects for asking. One of the earliest reverses of 
fortune was caused by the insufficiency of Engelhardt's detachment to 
protect the whole Saxon district in the south of Transylvania. 

When the Russians first entered Hermanstadt, Bern was deceived 
by an exaggerated report of their strength, and he retired into the 
mountains of the Szeklers. On learning his mistake, and that the Rus- 
sian force was divided, he appeared again before the city and offered 
battle, which was accepted by Puchner and Engelhardt. The impet- 
uosity of Bern's troops, and a want of concert between the Austrians 
and Russians, gave the honor of the day to the former, though the 
Russians retreated in good order to Hermanstadt. But as they had 
found that their number was too small to effect any thing important, 
and the coldness of the Austrian ministry in respect to them had ex- 
cited a natural resentment, they determined the next day to evacuate 
the city and to leave Transylvania. This determination threw the cit- 
izens into despair, and the weaker part of the population resolved, as 
the only mode of escaping the extremities of war, to remove along 
with the Russians into Wallachia. A numerous train of country vehi- 
cles of all sorts were hastily laden with their most precious effects, 
and a crowd of old men, women, and children, some on foot, and some 
riding on the overladen carts, prepared to go forth, under the escort of 
these foreigners, to exile and beggary, rather than to await their bar. 
barous conquerors. It was still the depth of winter ; the roads were 
encumbered with ice and snow, and a narrow and difficult defile along 
the river Aluta was to be passed before the fugitives could arrive at 
Kinien, the nearest village of Wallachia. The pass was a famous one ; 
by this route, in former years, war and pestilence had passed from 
Turkey into Transylvania. After many alarms and much suffering, 
the fugitives arrived at Kinien late at night, and were received by the 
garrison of Russians and Turks with much hospitality. The officers 
gave up their tents and their t beds to the women and children, the sick 
and the wounded received every attention, and all had leisure to reflect 
on the homes which they had left, and the beggary that awaited them. 
The fate of those who remained in Hermanstadt was pitiable indeed. 
Bern gave up the city to the utmost license of his troops for three 


whole da3 7 s ; those who were found bearing arms were shot, and oth- 
ers, who had joined in the request to the Russian commander, were 
brought before a council of war. The terror created by the inhuman 
conduct of Bern's army had the desired effect ; he experienced no more 
opposition from tne inhabitants of Transylvania, and was able to ex- 
tend his incursions into the Banat, and to cooperate with the troops 
who were acting against Jellnchich. 

The loss of Transylvania, and the recapture of Buda-Pesth by the 
Magyars, with other reversals of fortune, determined the Emperor to 
seek that intervention which he had but recently rejected. On the other 
hand, the Emperor Nicholas was anxious to retrieve the credit of his 
army, which had suffered from the battle with Bern, and the retreat 
from Hermanstadt. The terms of cooperation being soon adjusted, 
the ablest marshal of the Russian army entered Hungary at the head 
of an imposing force, and from that moment the issue of the contest was 
really decided ; the gallantry of the Magyars might protract the strug- 
gle, but could give no hope of ultimate success. They had provoked 
too many enemies ; of the half a dozen races which make up the mixed 
population of the Austrian empire, every one was hostile to them. — 
Their pride and indomitable obstinacy prevented them from making 
any attempt at conciliation ; and Gorgey, their last and ablest com- 
mander, rather than unite his troops with those of Dembinski, who had 
made some concessions and promises to the Sclavonians, and thereby 
partially recruited his ranks from them, preferred to surrender his 
whole army without conditions to the Russians. -The Magyars have 
fallen, and there are few to lament their fate but the Red Republicans 
of France and Germany, and the refugee Poles,- who were their only 
foreign allies. They have fallen in an unwise attempt to preserve their 
ancient feudal institutions, their supremacy as a race, and their nation- 
al independence against the reforms demanded by the spirit of the age, 
against the equality of political rights which could no louger be re- 
fused to their ancient subjects, and against the union with Austria 
which is a necessity of their geographical position. 

They had always regarded the Sclavonians and Wallachians with 
contempt, and Kossuth with his peculiar magniloquence was wont to 
say, that " Croatia was only a breakfast for Hungary." In their fury, 
they brutally murdered Count Lamberg, the imperial commissioner 
who had gone to Pesth to try the last chance at an accommodation ; 
and they resolved to punish the emperor by making common cause 
with the radicals at Vienna, so as to wage war against him in his own 
capital. It was even a violent shift of policy for the aristocratic and 
domineering Magyars to strike hands with the Red Republicans, Gip- 


sies, Jews, Socialists and Brigands,* — Janissaries of the revolutionary 
cause throughout Europe. But in truth, there was no other class or 
race remaining with whom an alliance was open to them. No people 
on the continent had shown themselves so strongly affected by the 
pride of race, or had put forward the claims of its own nationality in 
so haughty and offensive a manner. The consequence was, that they 
had made bitter enemies of all the other races around them, of those 
who should have been their associates and firmest friends. 

It is not necessary to review again the incidents of the war, nor 
even to look closely into the grounds of the hostility of the other 
Hungarian races to the Magyars. It is enough for our purpose to 
show, — what is evident, indeed, on the very face of the affair, — that 
not a single reason can be alleged to justify the insurrection of the 
Magyars against Austria, but it does, in a far greater degree, justify 
the revolt of all the Sclavonian and Wallacliian tribes against the 
Magyars. In Croatia and Sclayonia, there was no Magyar population ; 
and what light had these half Europeanized Asiatics to hold these 
provinces any longer in chains, when they invoke in their own favor, 
against Austria, the revolutionary right of each distinct nationality to 
self-government ? What pretence had they for laying waste Transyl- 
vania with fre and sword, for hunting the poor Wallachian peasants 
like wolves, and driving the German colonists into exile in Turkey, 
which could not also justify whatever excesses the Austrians have 
committed in their own fair land, down to the compelling of Kossuth, 
Bern, and their associates to take refuge among the very Moslems who 
had formerly sheltered their victims ? It may be said, indeed, that the 
Transylvanian Diet, at the beginning of the war, voted to make com- 
mon cause with the Magyars. It did so ; and the explanation of the 
fact is to be found in the composition of that Diet, which affords a fair 
sample of the way in which this dominant race distributed political 
influence among their subjects. The Magyar inhabitants of this duchy 
number about a quarter of a million, and they send forty-six members 
to the Diet ; both the Szeklers and the Saxons are as numerous as the 
Magyars, and they were allowed to send eighteen members each ; the 
Wallachians number nearly twice as many as the three other races 
taken together, and they were not represented at all.] It is not very 
surprising that a Diet thus constituted should take up the Magyar 

* The famous Magyar brigand, MeSandce Rozsa, presided as a brigand king over 800 
brigands, who had been fighting against the Croats and other Sclavons. In the spring 
of 1849, coming to Pesth, he was saluted with acclamations, " Eljen Rozsa Kival !" 

t Paget's Hungary and Transylvania, II. p. 247. 



As the course of events in Transylvania did much to determine the 
character and issue of the whole conflict, we translate a portion of M. 
de Bourgoing's account of the causes which led the Wallachians to 
rebel against their old masters, and of the manner in which the war 
was here conducted. ^^»*»^^ 

" The Wallachians, who. are more properly called Romnanijjweve 
the last to false up arms ; they did not determine upon" this step till 
about the end of October ; the Hungarians, they say, have only to 
thank Kossuth and his party for this hostility which has been fatal to 
them, especially in Transylvania.* Indeed, the Roumani of this region 
for a long time refused to take up the cause of the Slavonians. They 
would have preferred to be on good terms with the Hungarians ; and 
for this end they asked only the recognition of their nationality, and 
the freedom that had been promised without distinction in the Hun- 
garian constitution! to all the races inhabiting the kingdom. The 
moderate party among the Magyars were quite willing to assent to the 
just demands of a people who were the natural allies of their race. It 
was thus that Count Weszelenyi, a blind old man who sat in the Diet 
at Pesth, remarked in the session of the 29th of May : — ' The horizon 
of my country is darker than the night of my eyes ; our only means 
of safety consist in holding out a fraternal hand to the Roumani, and 
proposing an intimate alliance with them ; for, like them, we too are 
isolated in the vast ocean of nations ; our interests, as well as theirs, 
require a close alliance between us ; I ask you, therefore, to pass a 
law that the nationality of the Roumani shall be respected.' Kossuth 
rejected the motion, declaring that he knew nothing either of a Rou- 
manic or a Croatian people, and that he recognized only Hungarian 
citizens. All the nationalities were thus trodden under foot ; and the 
most odious acts soon followed, and completed the exasperation of 
these races. It was thus that the union of Transylvania with Hun- 
gary was decreed without asking the consent of the Roumani, who 
form a great majority of the population of the former province ; it was 
thus that ultra-Magyar commissioners were -sent to different localities 
with orders to exterminate the men of capacity and education, (mean- 
ing thereby the schoolmasters and the priests, without whose direction 
the rude Wallachian peasants could do no harm) ;J it was thus, that 
in the neighborhood of the cities and villages, and even on the high- 

* It should be remembered that there are nearly one million of Wallachians in Hun- 
gary proper, inhabiting that portion of it which is contiguous to Transylvania. 

t M. de Bourgoing here probably refers to the resolutions passed by the Magyar Diet 
in April, 1848, in which there were bountiful professions of liberality towards the other 
races. Whether these were sincere or not, it is certain that the Slavonians, Germans, 
and Wallachians refused to trust them. 

t " C'est ainsi que des commissaries ultra-magyars furent expedies dans les differentes 
localites avec ordre d'exterminer les intelligences roumaines (on donne ce nom dans toute 
la Transylvania aux capacit4s influentes du pays, c'est-a-dire aux maitres d'^cole et aux 


ways, gibbets were erected, and on the public edifices in every part of 
Transylvania these- words were inscribed, in the Hungarian and Rou- 
mani language : k Union or Death."*) 

" The Roumani, driven to extremities, assembled, in the month of 
May, 1848, at Balasfalva, to the number of sixty thousand, presided 
over by their bishops of the Greek church. Images of Trajan and 
Aurelian, and standards bearing the letters S. P. Q. R., reminded this 
multitude of their ancestors. The assembly discussed the question 
with great order and decorum ; the result of their deliberations was a 
solemn protest against any union of Transylvania with Hungary 
without the consent of the Roumanic nation. The Hungarian minis- 
try kept on, and had recourse to rigorous measures. Everywhere 
they forbade the formation of the Roumanic national guard, every- 
where the men of intelligence were imprisoned, and some, who had 
been thus named in derision, were hanged. Then a second meeting, 
after the fashion of the former Moldo Wallachian convocation, was 
held at Balasfalva. In May, they had only protested against the union 
with Hungary ; but in this second popular assembly, the Roumanic 
nation declared itself separated from this country, recognized the 
Austrian constitution, took up arms, and made common cause with 
the Imperial troops against the Hungarians. Whatever may be the 
result, the Magyars would do wrong to accuse the Roumani of rebel- 
ling against them ; if they had pursued a different policy, they would 
probably have had all this numerous population on their side. 

" Never was there a more furious war than that which ensued as soon 
as the Roumani took up arms. The whole nation rose — men, women, 
and children. The levy en masse was organized under the national 
chieftains by all the promptness of this formal insurrection, who as- 
sumed the old Latin titles of Prefects, Centurions, and Decurions — 
Many of these officers displayed the .greatest intrepidity, and inspired 
the men under their command with the liveliest enthusiasm. The 
whole people, led by the desire of reconstituting their nationality, as the 
other races have done, are reviving the historical traditions, epic or fab- 
ulous, of the nations whose languages they have preserved. Lieuten 
ant-Colonel Urban, who is simply a very brave Austrian officer, is re- 
presented in the popular ballads and the engravings which are distrib- 
uted among the Wallachian peasants, as clothed in the costume of 
Trajan, with the addition of a bearskin thrown over his shoulders.— 
In the rude prints, also, which the Roumani hang up ' on the interior 
walls of their huts, he appears, like the heroes of antiquity, giving a 
feast of a hundred sheep to his soldiers. The name of the Prefect 
Franco is not less popular in Transylvania. He is a simple Wal- 
lachian peasant, who has distinguished himself by his courage, and 
now commands an armed multitude." 

* In Hungarian, egysig vagy halal ; in Roumanic, uniunea sau mbrtea. These last 
words give the reader an idea of the great resemblance of the Roumanic language' of 
Transylvania and the Danubian principalities, to the Latin, 



We shall offer one other extract from this well-informed French 
writer, to corroborate a statement made in our former article, which 
has been faintly denied, that the Slowacks, a tribe numbering over two 
millions, who inhabit the north of Hungary, had, like all the Slavonic 
Hungarian tribes, risen in rebellion against the Magyars. Some of the 
Slowack nobility, as might have been expected, had espoused the cause 
of the Magyar aristocracy with whom the}' are allied, while the com- 
mon people almost unanimously revolted against this haughty race.* 

" Their insurgents were directed by a national committee, consisting 
of the three most popular men in the countiw, among whom a Slo- 
wack Lutheran clergyman, named Hurban, held the first rank.f 

" It was in this district that the dominion of the Magyars had been 
the most heavily felt. The Slowack people were reduced to a state of 
bondage, from which they freed themselves as soon as this occasion 
was offered to them. As soon as the Imperial troops protected and 
enc mraged the insurrection, it made rapid progress. The first act of 
independence of the Slowack population was to overturn and burn the 
gibbets which the government had set up near each village as a means 
of intimidation. The insurrection of the Slowacks was of a wholly 
different character from that which took place on the banks of the 
Danube. The Servians, a fierce and warlike nation, mostly armed as 
soldiers of the frontiers, organized from the beginning their means of 
attack and defence. The Slowacks, on the contrary, enervated by a 
long endurance of servitude, presented at first only a tumultuous body 
of insurgents, easy to be dispersed. It was only by degrees that the 
rebels of this tribe were hardened to the war. 

" In this branch of the Slavonic family, generally speaking, as well 
as among the Czechs, the Slavonians of Turkey, the Servians, and the 
Bosnians, the aristocracy quitted the national cause centuries ago, in 
order to adopt the ideas and sentiments of the dominant race. In Bo- 
hemia, with the exception of the Kolowrath family, the two brothers 
Deym, the Czernins, and a single member of the family of Thun, the 
nobility have almost altogether Germanized themselves. In Bosnia, 
the families of the ancient chiefs of the nation have become Moham- 
medans, and occupy the posts of governors, of pachas of the fortified 
town, and of commanders of the numerous strong places, where the 
chiefs of this aristocracy, called Spahis, rule the country and oppress 
their Christian subjects. In the country of the Slowacks, the nobility, 
seduced of late years by the prestige and splendor of the rich Magyar 
aristocracy, and by the marked favor shown to it by the imperial fam- 

*In the Trenchin country several nobles of this kind have been murdered as traitor s 
by the Slowack people. 

t We do not know whether this Hurban, or Janecek, who is subsequently described in 
this extract, is the person to whom allusion is made in the Magyar Declaration of Inde- 
pendence : — " A Slowack clergyman with the commission of Colonel, who had fratern- 
ized at Vienna with the revolted Czechs, broke into Hungary. 



ily, who studied the Magyar language, and permitted it quite recently 
to become exclusively the parliamentary and administrative language 
of the apostolical kingdom — the Slovvack nobility, I say, seduced by 
all these causes, resigned themselves to a complete iVTagyarization. — 
This is the reason wiry, in the late insurrection in favor of the Slavonic 
nationality, the men who animated and directed the insurgent popula- 
tion were two Slowack Lutheran clergymen and a lawyer from the 
city of Presburg, in which two thirds of the inhabitants are Slowacks. 
These tribes of Slowack mountaineers, multitudes of whom hastened 
down the southern declivity of the Carpathian mountains at the call of 
these eloquent interpreters of the new Slavonic feeling, were after- 
wards organized by two Moravians and a Bohemian, all of whom had 
served in the Austrian army. One of these Moravians, named Zach, 
resided a long time at Paris, where he was favorably known by many 
of our countrymen. The third organizer of the Slowack militia, named 
Janecek, who, at the beginning of the movement, in September, 1848, 
had enrolled at Vienna six hundred volunteers, marched with them to- 
wards Neutra in the Slowack country ; he displayed so much intelli- 
gent activity in the organization of the levies, and so much courage in 
the combats which immediately followed, that all the Sclavonians of 
Hungary surnamed him the Second Ziska, thus giving to this intrepid 
defender of their cause the name of one of the most illustrious per- 
sonages in Bohemian history — of that Ziska, the Hussite chief, who, 
in order to prolong even beyond his death the confidence with which 
he inspired his soldiers, and the terror that he caused to the enemy, or- 
dered, as the Czech and German chronicles say, that they should make 
out of his skin a covering for the drum of the first and bravest battal- 
ion of his army." 

The bitter and implacable hostility to the Magyars of all the other 
Hungarian races is a fact which admits of easy explanation. Besides 
the extraordinary development which has been given to the instinct or 
prejudice of race all over Europe by the events of the last two years 
— or rather by the imflammatory writings and speeches, and the exag- 
gerated national feeling of the Italian, German, Sclavonian, and Mag- 
yar liberals, which have caused these events — the long and undisputed 
domination of the Magyar race in Hungary, the monstrous accumula- 
tion of social and political advantages in their hands, their complete 
isolation from the others in blood and language, and their national pride 
and spirit of exclusiveness, which have been nursed and pampered to an 
unnatural and absurd extent by all these circumstances, have irritated 
the other tribes almost to madness, and produced the shocking barbar- 
ities in Transylvania and the south of Hungary which have rendered 
this war a disgrace to the age. The article in this number on Mag- 
yar Literature, though not written for this purpose, illustrates so strik- 
ingly the almost incredible development of this pride of race, both in 


the tone of Kisfaludy's plays and in the enthusiastic reception that 
was given to them, that it is hardly necessary to say any thing more 
upon the subject. But Mr. Paget's excellent and impartial work 
furnishes some amusing illustrations of this trait, two of which we 
will borrow in acknowledgement of the justice of his remark, that 
"knowledge of national character may be obtained from common in- 
ternational jokes and stories:" 

" Once upon a time, the manager of an Hungarian theatre, produced 
what he considered a very fine piece of scenery, in which was repre- 
sented a full moon, in the form of a round, fat, clean-shaved face, 
which might have suited a Dutch cherub. Instead of the anticipated 
applause, the luckless manager found his scene received with damning 
hisses; and it appeared that the popular indignation was more particu- 
larly directed against the ' pale-faced moon/ ' the German moon,' as 
they called it. Now as the Hungarians like their moon, as well as every 
thing else, to be quite national, the manager determined to please them, 
and next night up rose the poor moon with as glorious a pair of mus- 
taches as the fiercest Magyar amongst them could exhibit. Hurrahs 
burst from every mouth at sight of this reform, and all cried, ' Long 
live our own true Magyar moon, and confusion to all German moons 
for ever !" The moon had evidently been brought up at court, and 
had learnt the value of popular prejudices to those who know how to 
use them against those who hold them. 

"Another tale against the poor Hungarians had its origin in the ha- 
tred they bear to the knee-breeches of the Germans. One of the Hun- 
garian regiments, quartered during summer in the burning plains of 
Lombardy, was ordered by the colonel to parade in white trousers, 
which had just been given out, instead of the thick blue tights they 
had previously worn. The officers, however, found it no easy matter 
to induce compliance, and one excuse or another was always found 
for delay, till at last the colonel issued a second order, peremptorily 
fixing a day for the change, and threatening severe punishment for dis- 
obedience. It could no longer be put off, and the men accordingly 
paraded in whites ; but determined not to be made comfortable in any- 
body's way but their own, they all wore their thick blues underneath." 
Vol. II., pp. 553, 554. 

That these jokes may not be rejected as gross and unmeaning cari- 
catures, we will copy some of Mr. Paget's more serious remarks. 

" The pride of the Magyar, which is one of his strongest traits, 
leads him to look down on every other nation by which he is sur- 
rounded, with sovereign contempt. -All foreigners are either Schwab 
(German,) or Talydn (Italian) ; and it is difficult to imagine the super- 
cilious air with which the Magyar peasant pronounces these two 
words. ( As for his more immediate neighbors, it is worse still : for the 
most miserable Parazst-ember (poor-man, peasant) of Debreczen would 


scorn alliance or intercourse with the richest Wallack in the country. 

I remember the Baroness W telling me, that, as she was going to 

Debreczen some years ago with vorspann, she was accompanied by 
her footman, who happened to be a Wallack ; and, in speaking to her, 
he was overheard by the Magyar coachman using that language. 
The peasant made no observation at the time, but, as they approached 
the town, he pulled up, and desired the footman to get down ; assur- 
ing the lady at the same time that ho meant no disrespect to her, but 
that it was quite impossible that he, a Magyar, should endure the dis- 
grace of driving a Wallack -into Debreczen. Entreaties and threats 
were alike vain ; the peasant declared he would take out his horses if 
the footman did not get down, — which accordingly he did. The 
Germans are scarcely better treated : it was only the other clay, when 

Count M , an Austrian officer of high rank, was calling on Madame 

R , that her little son happening to let fall some plaything lie had 

in his hand, the Count applied his glass to his eye, and politely offered 
to find it for him. The child, however, though it could hardly, speak, 
had already learned to hate ; and in its sparing vocabulary it found the 
words ' Minder Schwab /' which it launched forth with all the bitter- 
ness it could muster, in answer to the polite offer of the astonished 
Count." Vol. II., pp. 20, 21. 

" The Magyar peasant holds the Wallacks in the most sovereign 
contempt. He calls them ' a people who let their shirts hang out/ 
from the manner in which they wear that article of clothing over the 
lower part of their dress ; and classes them with Jews and Gipsies. 
Even when living in the same village, the Magyar never intermarries 
with the Wallack." Vol. II., p. 215. 

This national feeling, when duly restrained and limited, is so uatura 
and honorable, and so nearly akin to true patriotism or love of coun- 
try, that we cannot blame it harshly. But for a tribe situated as the 
Magyars are in Hungary, isolated among other races more numerous 
than they, and over whom they have long domineered as conquerors, 
its indulgence is unreasonable and hazardous. Their excitable tem- 
perament, and their fondness, which betrays their Asiatic, origin, for 
imaginative and hyperbolical forms of speech— of which Kossuth's 
eloquence affords such extraordinary specimens — have betrayed them 
into exaggerated and tumultuous manifestations of this really selfish 
sentiment, which, coupled with their fierce denunciations of every 
power that claimed to be above them, have goaded their subjects into 
furious rebellion, and spread far and wide, among distant nations who 
were ignorant of the true circumstances of the case, this general 
illusion that they were fighting in the cause of freedom rather than in 
that of oppression. On republican principles, they were right in 
claiming exclusive sovereignty in that region — the fairer half of Hun- 
gary proper — where they were not only the dominant, but far the most 


numerous, class of the population. But their thirst for national 
aggrandizement led them to the endeavor to extend their rule over the 
districts peopled almost exclusively by the Slowacks and the Servians, 
where they had but little right ; over Croatia and Slavonia, where 
they had no right at all ; over Transylvania, where they formed less 
than one eighth of the population ; and even over the Military Fron- 
tiers, where they numbered hardly one in twenty-four, where they 
were universally detested, and which, up to 1848, had never been 
subject to the Magyar Diet. The same exaggerated and encroaching 
sentiment induced them, after they had vindicated the respect due to 
their own vernacular by substituting it for the Latin and German in 
their own deliberative assemblies, to attempt to force it upon their 
subject races, in whose ears it was a hateful Babylonish jargon. It 
is a poor rule which will not work both ways ; either they were 
wholly wrong in resisting Joseph II. when he resolved to make all his 
subjects talk German, or they were tyrannical and unjust in seeking 
to force the Croatians and other Slavonians to speak Magyar. Their 
inconsistency in this respect is the more glaring, inasmuch as then- 
attempt to practise this oppression took place many years after their 
successful resistance to it ; and they ought meanwhile to have profited 
by their own enlarged ideas of freedom and the advanced spirit of the 

We take from Mr. Frey's book, which we have already cited, the 
testimony of an unwilling witness as to the fact, that the Magyars, 
after they had obtained all that they asked from Austria in April, 1848, 
still showed a disposition rather to encroach than to concede in their 
relations with the Sclavonians, who were then surely entitled to demand 
from them concessions quite as ample as those which they had just 
obtained for themselves from the emperor. 

" Since the time when Hungary had extorted its independent minis- 
try, [March, 1848,] the bonds that tied the Austrian monarchy together 
had become so fragile that the slightest touch, the least breath, threat- 
ened to dissolve them. Hungary by that act had torn herself loose 
from the combination formed by the other (Austrian) states ; and 
thereby had made enemies not only of the many champions of the 
integrity of the Austrian dynasty, but also of the major part of the 
non-Magyar population of Hungary, and of the Sclavonic people of 
her appurtenant provinces. No wonder, then, that the Sclavonic 
population shoulc have been filled with anxiety and apprehension, 
while Hungary by degrees proceeded to transform itself into a specific 
Magyar Stale, — since, "by this change, they must have seen their own 
nationality menaced. It is true, that the Hungarian Ministry at first 
did take steps which made these apprehensions seem not unfounded. 


The notion of the Ministry was, that it could make all the Hungarians 
one united people by Magyarizing them. To this end, the Latin lan- 
guage, hitherto employed in all official business, was abolished, and 
the Hungarian introduced, not only in the courts of justice, but in the 
schools and Diet. This proceeding excited hate and bitterness in 
nearly all the Sclavonic inhabitants of Hungary — who seized on this 
as a pretext to conceal their plans inimical to liberty under the show 
of alarm for their nationality." 

The recent existence of feudal rights of the nobles over the peas- 
ants, and the harsh manner in which they were exercised, was one of 
the causes which infused into the minds of the oth' r Hungarian races 
a spirit of implacable hostility to the Magyars. Mr. i'aget's able and 
impartial work abounds with evidence upon this point. We subjoin a 
few extracts from his testimony, which may be taken without distrust, 
as he resided in the country in 1835, and published his book four years 
afterwards, long before the revolutionary disturbance began : 

" I knew an old Countess in Transylvania who used to lament that 
' times were sadly changed, peasants were no longer so respectful as 
they used to be ;' — she could remember walking to church on the backs 
of the peasants, who knelt down in the mud to allow her to pass over 
them without soiling her shoes. She could also remember, though less 
partial to the recollection, a rising of the peasantry, when nothing but 
the kindness with which her mother had generally treated them, saved 
her from the cruel death which many of her neighbors met with." Vol, 
II., p. 215. 

" The peasant-land has never been classed here, [in Transylvania] 
as in Hungary, according to its powers of production, nor- has the size 
of the peasant's portion, or fief, been ever accurately determined. The 
amount of labor, therefore, cannot be fairly and legally proportioned 
to the quantity and value of the land. Nor is the amount of labor it- 
self better regulated. In some parts of the country it is common to 
require two days a week ; in others, and more generally, three are de- 
manded ; and some the landlord takes as much as he can possibly ex- 
tract out of the half-starved creatures who live under him. Here, too, 
the flogging-block is in full vigor ; every landlord can order any of his 
tenants or servants, who may displease him, twenty-five lashes on the 
spot, and it is generally the first resource which occurs to him in any 
disputes about labor or dues. But it is in the hands of the underlings, 
the stewards, bailiffs, inspectors — a flock of hawks which infest every 
Hungarian estate — that this power becomes a real scourge to the poor 
peasant." Vol. II., p. 314. 

" Considerable talent is required to flog well, the object being to in- 
flict the smartest pain with the least bodily injury ; and, therefore, no 
one is allowed to perform who has not perfected himself in the art by 
practicing on a stuffed sack. All this is very disgusting and very sav- 


age, brutalizing to the lord even more than the peasant; for the reader 
will scarcely believe that some of these hardy fellows laugh at such a 
punishment, and it is a point of honor among them to bear it without 
flinching. Nothing renders the young peasant so irresistible to his 
mistress as his heroic support of the five-and-twenty." Vol. I., pp. 
384, 385. 

" The frightful scenes which took place under the leadership of Hora 
and Kloska, two Wallacks, who, in 1784. raised the peasants of Tran- 
sylvania in revolt, are still fresh in the memory of the Transylvanians, 
and many serve as a warning of what an injured people are capable, 
when expectations of redress are held out to them, and then disappoint- 
ed." Vol. 11., p. 312. 

" The Cassa Domestica, instead of being voted by the Diet, is voted 
by the county meetings, and is entirely devoted to the expenses of the 
individual county. The amount must of course vary in each county, 
according to the circumstances of the time, and the necessities of dif- 
ferent localities From this source are derived the salaries of the mu- 
nicipal officers, the sums necessary for the maintenance and repair of_ 
bridges and roads, the erection of public buildings, and, till the present 
Diet, even the payment of the members of the Diet. The administra- 
tion of the Cassa Domestica is entirely in the hands of the nobles, in- 
dependent of the general government : it is entirely paid by the peas- 
ants. Here I know every English reader will be ready to join with 
me in execrating the selfishness — the flagrant and injurious selfishness 
— of the Hungarian nobles, which this fact discloses. That they 
should refuse to contribute to the support of a government which re- 
fuses them the right of regulating the expenditure of such contribu- 
tions, every constitutionalist can understand ; and that those who are 
themselves bound to defend their country should decline to pay others 
to do it, is also comprehensible — of course supposing that they were 
capable of performing their duty; but on what plan they refuse to take 
a part in paying the officers chosen b} 7 themselves from their own body, 
whose -duties in many cases regard exclusively the nobility — by what 
right they can pretend to force others to build houses for them to meet 
in, bridges for them to pass over, or roads for them to travel on, is be- 
yond the power of any honest man to imagine. Thank Heaven ! the 
first step towards a great change has been already made. When 
Count Szecheny obtained from the Diet an act for building a new 
bridge at Pesth, and a power to make every one, noble or ignoble, pay 
as he passed over it, he gained as great a victory over prejudice and 
injustice as has been accomplished by any statesman of our day. 

"Some of the most enlightened Hungarians would L'ladly see this 
principle carried out to a much greater extent; and it is not improba- 
ble that government would second them ; but among many of the no- 
bles, especially the lowest and highest, there is so great an ignorance 
and so strong a prejudice — on the one hand against losing what they 
consider their rights, and on the other against raising the peasantry to 
think and feel like men — that much must be done before this act of jus- 
tice can be accomplished." Vol. II.', pp. 75, 77. - 


The testimony now given shows what even these denials are worth ; 
and if it answers no other purpose, it may prevent the repetition of 
any such mountebank show as that of the late " Hungarian reception," 
as it was called, at New York. Ardent republican feeling is a senti- 
ment which with great difficulty brooks restraint ; but some care 
ought to be taken that the future manifestations of it should, at least, 
be consistent with the reputation of our countrymen for dignity and 
common sense. 

From the evidence now cited, it appears very clearly that the war 
was waged on the part of the Magyars, without even a protence that 
they were fighting for the establishment of a Republic — a form of 
government which they have constantly disclaimed. 

We regret that it was thought necessary, in order to create greater 
sympathy for the unfortunate : in this country. 

to put forth this unfounded and even ridiculous assertion for them, 
that they were martyrs in the cause of free institutions and a popular 
government. Nothing of the sort was needed to ensure them a kind 
and hospitable reception in a country which is the common refuge of 
political exiles of any class, and from all lands, of all those who have 
bravely but vainly striven for any cause, be it that of a monarchy, an 
aristocracy, or a republic. We welcome all to our shores with our 
whole hearts, and would gladly do all that is in our power to provide 
generously for their necessities, and to alleviate the bitterness of their 
exile. If, instead of attempting to offer a petty insult to the Austrian 
government by withdrawing from all diplomatic intercourse with it, a 
measure wholly unprecedented and undignified, which would have ex- 
cited only the scorn of the power that it was aimed at, and the ridi- 
cule of other nations, and would have wantonly sacrificed the interests 
of our own citizens, and all chance of benefiting Hungary herself, a 
resolution had been offered in Congress for making a liberal grant of 
the public lands to these unhappy refugees, we believe and hope that 
it would have passed almost by acclamation. Now, there is room to 
fear, that the sympathy first excited in their favor has had time to 
cool, and that something of a reaction has commenced, owing to the 
foolish conduct of their clamorous and vaporing friends, who have 
endeavored to suppress or pervert the voice of history, and, by the 
terrorism of the newspaper press, the only despotic power which 
exists in this country, to prevent a full publication of the truth. — 
These persons pay a sorry compliment to the American people, by 
supposing that we cannot welcome to our homes the vanquished and 
the unfortunate till we are first, satisfied of the orthodoxy of their 
religious and political opinions, and that they have been fighting for a 



thoroughly democratic cause. Dethroned kings and banished nobles 
have been received here with all kindness and respect ; Bonapartes 
and Bourbons have profited, and may profit again, by our equal- 
handed hospitality. Here they can meet in peace some of the very 
men whom, in the days of their prosperity they persecuted and ban- 
ished as conspirators for freedom. The Magyar nobles may be sure 
of as kind a welcome here in America, as our lathers gave to the 
emigrant French noblesse, who fled from the Reign of Terror at 
Paris ; and they ask for nothing more. They do not ask that their 
claims may be advocated on false pretences. But the Magyars in 
this country are persuading the public that they were republicans, and 
more than republicans, (pure democrats.) That they are neither re- 
publicans nor democrats, we will shov from the Examiner Newspaper 
which has been the chief organ of the Hungarian cause in London. 
Some of the most active Magyars there being in correspondence with 
it, teach us the following doctrines : 

" The most current misrepresentation of the Hungarians is, that 
they are Republicans, and that they have proclaimed the Republic in 
such of the Hungarian counties as are in their power, which now 
comprise almost all the Hungarian territory. This assertion is often 
unwarily reechoed by friends of the Hungarians, who, considering 
that the Queen of England maintains amicable relations with the 
Republic of the United States, with the Republic of France, and the 
Republic of Switzerland, are not altogether horrified at the ' epubli- 
can appellation. But the real state of the matter is, that the Hunga- 
rians are not Republicans, and that the Republic has not been pro- 
claimed anywhere in Hungary. 

"The Magyars fight to maintain a constitution which numbers 
more than eight centuries of duration, and to support the sanctity of 
a Royal word. They have taken their position upon the inviolability 
of ancient liberty. Although Austrian intrigues have caused a 
breach of these liberties, and striven to render of no avail the royal 
oath sworn solemnly to maintain them, the Hungarians have not hith- 
erto dreamed of proclaiming a Republic. In spite of all their victo- 
ries, it is their wish to retain both the Monarchy and the Dynasty. — 
They do not desire to change the nature of their institutions, or to 
rid themselves of the ruling family." — Examiner, May 5th, 1849. 

The eccentric Walter Savage Landor, in a letter to Lord Dudley 
Stuart, dated the 18th of October, 1849, and published in the Exami- 
ner newspaper, says, speaking of Kossuth : 

" We plead for the Hungarian defender of venerable institutions, 
cognate with our own, and bearing a strong family resemblance." 

In a memorial addressed to Lord John Russel and Lord Palmer- 


ston, in October, 1849, which has been written by Lord Fitz- William, 
and signed by him and several other peers and members of Parlia- 
ment, the following language is used, the object of the memorial 
being to ask the mediation of England in favor of Hungary : 

" While so many of the nations of Europe have engaged in revolu- 
tionary movements, and have embarked in schemes of doubtful policy, 
and still more doubtful success, it is gratifying to the undersigned to 
be able to assure your lordships that the Hungarians demand nothing 
but the recognition of ancient rights and the stability and integrity 
of their ancient constitution. To your lordships it cannot be un- 
known that that constitution bears a striking family resemblance to 
that of our own country. King, Lords, and Commons are as vital 
parts of the Hungarian as of the British constitution." 

These extracts are sufficient to show what coloring was put upon 
the Hungarian cause in England, in order to secure the sympathies 
of a people strongly attached to Monarchical and Aristocratic institu- 
tions. Here, in America, and even in the Senate of the United States, 
with a like purpose of obtaining sympathy, the Hungarians have been 
audaciously held up as true and devoted Republicans. And as if to 
carry out the principle of gaining the support of every foreign 
nation by conforming to their prejudices or illusions, a large number of 
Kossuth's fellow fugitives in Turkey, including that formidable free 
companion of the revolutionary cause throughout Europe, general 
Bern himself, has turned Mohammedans. 

That the English view of the matter is the only correct one, is 
sufficiently evident from the fact which we before alluded to, that Re- 
publicanism is not even mentioned in the Hungarian Declaration of 
Independence ; and even the assertion which we have just borrowed 
from the Examiner, that the Magyars wished "to retain both the Mon- 
archy and the Dynasty," is fully supported by the same Declaration. 

We have said nothing to justify or palliate the policy of Austria in 
her relations with Hungary. Her conduct has been as good as her 
demands, her concessions as willingly made, during the last two 
years, as in any former period of her history. Even for the very liber- 
al character of the constitution granted to all her subjects in March, 
1849, we ascribe to her no more commendation and praise than what 
the historical necessity and truth require. Nor let any one suspect us 
of favoring the policy of the colossal Empire of Russia. Her troops 
(as it is generally known) were called into Hungary by the most earn- 
est supplications of the republican German burghers and poor Walla- 
chian peasants, to save their cities and villages, their wives and chil- 
dren from the ruthless war waged against them by the Szeklers and 


Polish refugees. The divine justice excited the Russian Monarch to 
crush and to put down the common foes of human laws, in order to 
save the whole of Europe from conflagration and anarchy. 

Thus the key to the whole question as to the merits of the war in 
Hungary is found in the unquestionable fact, that neither Russia nor 
Austria was an original party in the strife, which was not caused by 
them, but would inevitably have occurred, and have raged with equal 
bitterness, though probably with a different result, if these powers had 
never interfered in it. The principals in the war were the Magyars 
against the other races which inhabit Hungary with them — against the 
Sclavonians, Wallachians, Germans, ect, who had risen in rebellion, 
and were striving to shake off the yoke which this proud, gallant, and 
victorious race had imposed and kept upon them for centuries. 

We see not what right the Magyars have to appropriate exclusively 
to themselves the name of Hungarians, though they are less than five 
millions in number, and first came into the country as intruders and 
conquerors in the 8th century, while they refuse to give this common 
appellation to the Sclavonians and Wallachians, though their popula- 
tion amounts to eight millions of inhabitants and who are the aborigi- 
nal and rightful possessors of the soil. 

For convenient reference, we subjoin the following enumeration of 
the races that constitute the population of Hungary, taken from the 
latest and most authoritative publication of Austrian statistics — that of 
Haeufler. The statements of the Bohemian philologist, Safarik, and 
a Hungarian authority, Fenyes, though not of so recent date, do not 
alter the proportions : 

Hungary, including Croatia and Sclavonia. 
- Servians, - 
Croatians, - 
Sclovanians (Styrians,) 
Bulgarians and others, 

Slavonians, total, 


Wallachians, - 


Greeks and others, 






- 50,000 











Magyars* - -,:'.- - - 260,170 

Szeklers, - .... 260,000 

Germans, - - 250,000 

Wallachians, .... 1,287,340 

Others, - ... 60.400 


Military Frontiers. 




Croatian s, 

. ■ 

692,960 - 



Sclavonians, total, 

- 895,860 





- 100,000 


Totals for all Hungary. 






- 4,908,760 






- 2,417,340 



Jews and others, 



Grand total, - - 13,876,170 

These aboriginal and rightful possessors of the soil in Hungary- — 
the Sclavonians, Wallachians, Servians, Croatians, Dalmatians, Russ- 
niaks, Bulgarians, and in Transylvania, Germans, also Greeks and 
others — rose in arms, and turned with savage fury upon their 
tyrants, the nomadic and despotic Magyars, who had so long oppressed 
and insulted them, saying : " Tot nem ember, kasa nem etel, telega 
nem szeker."* 

The Magyars coming to America tell us, that they fought united 
with their fellow neighbors : the Croatians, Dalmatians, Sclavonians, 
Wallachians, etc., etc., against the tyrants and despots of Austria and 
Russia, in order to destroy their power forever, and to establish a 
republic on the same ground as it is here in the United States. Now 
the most sincere and most active Magyars in England evidently con- 
tradict these assertions, saying : 

* The Sclavonian is no man, the millet is no eating, a car of two wheels is no coach 
of four wheels, consequently the Sclavonians subjugated by the Magyars are not human 
beings, but poor animals and cattle. 


" The most current misrepresentation of the Hungarians is, that they 
" are Republicans, and that they have proclaimed the Republic in the 
" Hungarian counties, which now comprise almost all the Hungarian 
" territory. This assertion is often unwarily reechoed by friends of 
" the Hungarians, who, considering that the Queen of England main- 
" tains amicable relations with the Republic of the United States, with 
" the Republic of France and the Republic of Switzerland, are not 
" altogether horrified at the Republican appellation. But the real state 
" of the matter is, that the Hungarians are not Republicans, and that 
" the Republic has not been proclaimed anywhere in Hungary. The 
" Magyars fight to maintain a constitution, which numbers more than 
" eight centuries of duration, and to support the sanctity of a royal 
" word. They have taken their position upon the inviolability of ancient 
" liberty* Although Austrian intrigues have caused a breach of these 
" liberties, the Hungarians have not hitherto dreamed of proclaiming a 
" Republic. In spite of all their victories, it is their wish to retain 
" both the Monarchy and the Dynasty." Examiner of the 5th May, 

We credulous and good hearted Americans, have regarded all the 
Magyars, as true Republicans, and as our Brothers — but now we must 
sincerely confess, that we have wasted our honest enthusiasm, mistaken 
our men, and lavished upon demagogues, savage fanatics, or disguised 
supporters of despotism, the admiration which was intended for the 
brave, enlightened, and disinterested champions of human freedom and 
defenders of their country's rights. 

Our errors and disappointments ought at least to teach us caution ; 
having been so often deceived, it becomes us to scrutinize pretty 
sharply the credentials of all who may hereafter claim to be consid- 
ered as martyrs of liberty or regenerators of free institutions in 
Europe. It is worth while, also, to review those cases in reference to 
which we have been led into error, and see what principles and mo- 
tives were really active in them, and how it was that they simulated 
the character of contests for freedom. 

The pamphlet of M. Bourgoing is very instructive for this purpose, 
as it is written by a former diplomatic representative of France both 
in Russia and Germany, who has had ample opportunity to study the 
internal and foreign politics of those countries ; while his present po- 
sition, as minister of the French republic to the Court of Madrid, is 
a sufficient guaranty that his sentiments, on the whole, are not anti- 
republican. It is temperately written, apparently without prejudice 
or secret bias, with the avowed purpose of lessening the fears enter- 

* The ancient liberty is to whip and to excoriate the Sclavonians, Wallachians, 
Croats, and the other subjugated races in Hungary. 


tained by his countrymen, at an anxious and gloomy period of their 
affairs, of a general war in Europe. It was published in the spring or 
summer of 1849; and events have thus far justified the writer's pre- 
diction, that, notwithstanding what was then the agitated state of the 
Continent, the apparent wreck of so many governments, and the 
number of local contests which were raging fiercely in the centre and 
south of Europe, there would be uo general conflagration like that 
which was kindled by the first Revolution in France. " Therefore," 
he says, in conclusion, " let confidence be restored on all sides ; let 
commerce resume its former habits, and hasten to take up again its 
relations with foreign countries ; for a maratime war is as improbable, 
as impossible, as a continental one. Let a sense of security animate 
our manufactures, and the works which have been interrupted may be 
undertaken anew. France has both the will and the power, in the 
face of agitated and revolutionized Europe, to preserve peace, which 
will be more honorable and profitable to her than a long war : for 
without striking a blow, she will see the whole work of the Allies in 
1815 disappear. Freed from all apprehensions as to our foreign rela- 
tions, let us think only of the struggle against perverse doctrines 
which is going on at home, and seek to bring back to us fill our coun- 
trymen, who have only been misled and deceived, and whose ears are 
still open to the language of reason added to that of fraternal concili- 

These words being a sufficient indication of the honesty of the 
writer's purpose, his statements can be received without distrust. — 
The pamphlet itself affords proof enough of the extent and thorough- 
ness of his information ; with the affairs of Germany, including Hun- 
gary, he seems particularly conversant, his knowledge being evidently 
derived from a long residence in the countries of which he speaks, 
and from familiarity with the languages of the several tribes that 
inhabit them. "I have the advantage," he says, "of having lived 
many years among those Germans and Sclavonians who are now so 
lamentably hostile to each other, and of having quitted them hardly 
five months ago ; of having travelled through the various countries 
which the war has recently desolated ; of having become personally 
acquainted, in the course of a rather long military and diplomatic 
career in this part of Europe, with all the men who govern, with 
many of those who command or negotiate, and even with some of 
those who speak and write, and thus calm or agitate, the credulous 
people in all these distant lands ; and of thus being able, from all 
these causes united, to speak from certain knowledge." 

With these grounds of assurance that he is a safe guide, we shall 


make free use of the information he gives as to the present state of 
Europe, the character of the political changes which have recently 
taken place in it, and the motives of the combatants in the several 
contests which have lately disturbed its tranquillity. 

The leading idea or fact, which is developed and supported in this 
publication, is, that the wars which broke out in Europe during the 
year 1848 were not founded on political or religious principle, but were 
all wars of races, in which different nationalities, speaking different 
languages, came in contact with each other by seeking to vindicate or 
preserve a superior relative position ; hence it is concluded, that they 
are necessarily local in character and limited in their results to parties 
which are actually engaged in them, affording no cause of offence to 
any third nation, and incapable of endangering the general peace of 
Europe. Every other nation, it is argued, — France, for instance, — 
may remain a peaceable spectator of such wars, neither her pros- 
perity, her dignity, nor her political influence being in any manner 
compromised by them. 

" During the year which has just elapsed, (1848,) there have broken 
out in Europe no less than nine very distinct wars or local collisions 
between twenty-three states or nations, speaking seventeen different 
languages. One strange fact explains and influences all these events : 
The several families of dialects, or stem-languages, become hostile to 
each other, and tend to constitute independent nationalities. So novel 
a movement certainly deserves to be studied, and the moment when 
we begin to understand its causes, is favorable for attempting an enu- 
meration of them. 

"In the numerous wars and contests of 1848, the Germans appear 
in the first rank. Thus, we have had, 1. The war of the Germans 
against the Danes, for whom the Swedes, the Norwegians, and even 
the Russians, have been on the point of entering into the lists ; then 
of the Germans against the Poles ; 2. of Posen ; 3. of Cracovia, and 4. 
of Galicia, the capital of which has been bombarded — three successive- 
wars between the Poles and the Germans; — 5. of these same Ger- 
mans against the Bohemians, two nations which have been allied to- 
gether for eight centuries, but which, in the month of June, entered 
into furious conflicts with each other at Prague ; — 6. of the Neapoli- 
tans against the Sicilians ; — 7. of the Austrians against the Piedmon- 
tese, with whom the people of Lombardy, Tuscany, and Rome have 
taken sides : — 8. of the Hungarians against the Croatians and the 
Servians, who were helped, in 1848, by the regular armies of Austria, 
as well as by the insurrections and the volunteer and partisan corps of 
the Slowacks, the Russniaks of Gallicia, and the Wallachians and the 
Saxons of Transylvania, the last of whom, in 1849, drew the Rus- 
sians into a contest which caused blood to be shed by all the Sclavon- 
ic tribes without exception ; — and lastly, 9. the national movement of 


the Moldavians and Wallachians, which produced, at Bucharest, a san- 
guinary conflict with the Turks. 

" In addition to nine wars, more or less prolonged, this rivalry of a 
wholly novel character, the rivalry of languages and nationalities, with 
its more or less direct consequences, has been on the very point of ex- 
citing three other armed collisions between five different nations, to wit : 
Between the Irish and the English ; between the Germans and the 
Dutch, on account of Luxemburg ; and even between the Germans and 
Swiss, to whom a menacing manifesto has been addressed. I might 
add, that the Greeks of Cephalonia and the other Ionian islands have 
also made a demonstration in favor of their nationality ; and that the 
Montenegrins, coming from the borders of the Adriatic to fight in the 
provinces of the Danube, have shown that the Sclavonic mind is in 
agitation even in the southern region of Dalmatia. 

" This principle of the division of nationalities by their languages 
thus appears to be in truth the ruling political idea of our times ; I 
will even say, that the excessive and fanatical extension of a rule so 
difficult to be applied, is one of the political manias of the day ; for 
whoever takes the feeling of humanity for a guide, has a right to stig- 
matize as insanity every unreasonable exaggeration which causes a 
great effusion of blood. It is evident, however, that other powerful 
causes have been united with these questions of race and language. — 
In Ireland, for instance, the difference of religion, and the comparison 
which is daily made of the wealth of the conquering race with the 
misery of the conquered people, keep up this animosity of the two na- 
tions, to which the difference of language contributes comparatively 
little. In other countries, the radical party in politics have taken up 
this means of speedy and far-reaching agitation as an instrument for 
the furtherance of their own designs. Community of language sub- 
jects a whole nationality to the exciting influence of a journal, a pop- 
ular harangue, or a patriotic hymn ; as soon as it is admitted that a 
common language forms an indissoluble bond among those who use it, 
or that it ought to serve as such a bond, it becomes the principal vehi- 
cle of the schemes of disorder and rebellion which may be inculcated 
from a distance. 

"If the history of the world in all ages is a uniform record of dis- 
sension and conflict, we may remark that the determining causes of 
war have become more and more complicated in proportion to the pro- 
gress of the human mind. In the ages of barbarism, the tribes of the 
north rushed upon the nations of the south simply in order to dispute 
with them a place nearer to the sun. Soon afterwards came the wars 
of territorial convenience, which must be studied from a different point 
of view. As soon as the governments became civilized enough to have 
a political system, they began to fight for an alliance, for a river, for a 
chain of mountains, which would furnish a good strategical frontier. — 
Later still, after the invention of writing, it was the interpretation of 
treaties, acts of royal succession, testamentary injunctions, pragmatic 
sanctions, and the like, which set armies in motion. Religious wars 



have belonged to all ages and all countries. Finally, at the close of 
the last century, all Europe rose in arms and formed coalitions either 
for or against political freedom. The war brought on by the first 
French revolution gave rise to many others, and eight different coali- 
tions were successively formed to oppose a dyke to our principles of 
innovation coming from the west. Now, this dyke is forever broken, 
and the torrent has stopped only at the Niemen. 

" The year 1848 first saw a wholly strange and unexpected cause of 
disaster, conflagration, and bloodshed suddenly start up among the 
nations of Europe ; it beheld the rise of a subject of contention which 
was more subtle than the religious dogmas that produced the thirty 
years' war, more abstract than the political notions which kept up for 
twenty-three years the conflict between the armies of liberty and those 
of the counter-revolution. In truth, it is only about ten years since 
the nations who are now waging war upon each other in Denmark or 
in Lombardy, on the banks of the Danube or at the foot of Etna, first 
thought of regarding a difference of language, or even, as we see in 
Sicily, a faint difference between two dialects, as a legitimate cause of 
implacable hostility. It is also .proper to say, that Germany, after 
having effectually contributed, by its philological labors, to awaken 
the instinct of race and arm the different nationalities against each 
other, has not been able in every case to reconcile the projects of its 
ambition with the consequences of its theories. The same principle 
which it defends in Sleswick, it combats in Poland and in Italy. 
Hence arise lamentable dissensions and inconsistencies; hence, also, 
the reign of violence coming after a movement which would have 
merited our sympathies, if it had not too often strayed from the paths 
of moderation and equity." 

The bond of a common language is weakened in many cases by 
great differences of dialects ; and the tie of a common though very 
remote origin would not be strongly felt, — its influence, in fact, would 
be hardly perceptible, — if it did not flatter the national pride, and often 
come in aid of that desire of national aggrandizement which is a com- 
mon sentiment among all nations, and exists as strongly in the body 
of the people as in the hearts of their rulers.* It is a feeling which 
simulates true patriotism, though only remotely allied to it ; it assumes 
a brave garb, uses high-sounding words, and publishes valiant and 
virtuous manifestoes, though its root is in ambition and selfishness. A 
native of one of the smaller States of Italy or Germany, aware of the 
political insignificance of his government, and conscious, perhaps, of 
the social degradation of his countrymen, may be pardoned for dream- 
ing of a union with all who are of the same lineage and speak the 
same tongue, as the only practicable means of elevating his nation in 
the eyes of Europe, and acquiring t for them substantial dignity and 
influence. His sense of present humiliation will more readily seek 


relief in the idea of a grand alliance with others, than in the difficult 
enterprise of reforming the political institutions of his own State, and 
improving the social condition of its inhabitants. It was because this 
latter enterprise seemed hopeless, or at best, remote and difficult of 
accomplishment, that the cry for a United Italy, and a United Ger- 
many, has become so popular. The enthusiasm of the Germans in 
this cause was fostered by, and perhaps derived its origin from, their 
united and successful efforts in the glorious War of Liberation, as it 
was termed, when they broke the chains of Naiialfion. Arndt's famous 
song, > 

Where is the German fatherland? 

and other patriotic odes, contributed not a little to fan the flame. 

In Italy, the desire for political union, far more than for the down- 
fall of monarchy, has always been the leading idea of its patriots. 
The regeneration of the country in their eyes depended on breaking 
down the barriers between its several States, and acquiring for it a 
political status as one of the great powers of the continent. It was a 
natural wish on their part, but not one which presents any peculiar 
claim for sympathy from other nations. Either as Americans or re- 
publicans, we do not feel called upon to admire or respect a movement 
which looks first to national aggrandizement, without any direct 
reference to the improvement of the social or political condition of the 
people. Tuscany has been a highly favored state, enjoying a mild 
and beneficent government; it is by no means sure that the welfare 
of its people would be increased by its junction with Lombardy, Pied- 
mont, and the other States of the peninsula, under the rule of such a 
sovereign as Charles Albert. This, it must be confessed, is taking a 
very practical view of the matter; but we have no patience with that 
sort of sentimental enthusiasm, of patriotism run mad, wifcch, without 
any reference to immediate utility, can be gratified only at the expense 
of a revolution and a bloody civil war. Italy never has been united 
since the days of the Jioman empire ; and the most glorious period of 
its subsequent history is that when it was divided into a multitude of 
flourishing commercial republics. That Genoa, Pisa, Florence, and 
Venice were almost constantly at war with each other in the days of 
their prosperity and renown, was a misfortune of the times — an effect 
of the imperfect civilization of the Middle Ages — not a necessary 
result of their separate existence as independent states. If thus 
divided and constituted at the present day, there would be no difficulty 
in maintaining peaceful relations between them. Florence, under the 
Medici, achieved the mingled glories of literature, wealth, arts, and 
arms, not only without political union with other portions of the 


peninsula, but in spite of frequent wars with them; if her present 
state is less glorious and prosperous, it is not from the want of such 
union, but from the character of its inhabitants and the altered cir- 
cumstances of the times. 

Germany could not hope to effect any other object through the 
union of her several states, which may not be acquired under the 
present arrangement, except that of having a more potential voice in 
the settlement of the affairs of Europe. The Customs-Union is a 
league just as effective for all commercial purposes as a complete 
political fusion under one government would be ; and the present 
condition of the country has the advantage of preserving for each in- 
dependent state those habits and peculiarities of legislation and ad- 
ministration which from long use are best adapted to it, and most 
popular. The great evil of the existing system in Austria and Prussia, 
even the smaller states not being exempt from it, is excessive centrali- 
zation, the paternal care of the government being evinced by treating 
the whole body of the people as little children, who are incapable of 
thinking or acting for themselves. There are very few local authori- 
ties appointed by their immediate constituents, and responsible to them 
alone; all appointments originate at the capital, and the affairs of 
every little village are directed by power emanating immediately from 
the head of the state. The government is not so much tyrannical as 
bureaucratical. The systematic and pedantic turn of the German 
mind enhances the evil ; their civil polity is nothing but psedagogy. — 
A fusion of all their governments into one would produce a monstrous 
system, whether of a monarchical or a republican class ; individual 
action would be stifled under it, and no executive power could be so 
skilfully constituted as to be able to meet all the demands upon its 
care and attention. Germany is less prepared than any country in 
the world to try such an experiment as was made by France in 1789; 
to abrogate all its existing institutions, and begin the work of consti- 
tuting society and government entirely anew. The lack of practical 
talent, and of ingenuity in meeting or providing for new emergencies, 
is an imperative reason for travelling, as far as possible, in the old 
beaten paths. 

In former days, the great object was to make the political divisions 
of the continent correspond, as far as possible, with its natural divis- 
ions by great rivers ahd chains of mountains. Every country claimed 
what it called its naturql boundaries, but always with a secret refer- 
ence to the enlargement of its own territory. Thus France demanded 
the Rhine as its natural frontier ; while Russia put forward her pre- 
tensions against Sweden to the whole eastern coast of the Baltic. — 


The war of the Spanish Succession took place to prevent Louis XIV. 
from fulfilling his boast, that there were no longer any Pyrenees. — 
While one country alleged its natural right to those limits which 
seemed to have been established for it by the conformation of the 
earth, others opposed its claim on the ground that to allow it would 
be to destroy the balance of power in Europe. The principle itself, 
it was argued, was an inconvenient one, and if pressed to its full 
extent, wholly impracticable. Applied in every case, it would be 
necessary to parcel out the continent anew, and to establish new states 
inconvenient in form and heterogeneous in their population. If the 
rule be urged in all its strictness, there are no natural boundaries 
except where a peninsula is cut ofF from the main land by a chain of 
mountains, — a description which applies only to Italy, Spain, and the 
Scandinavian peninsula ; and its application in these cases would 
deprive Portugal, the smaller states of Italy, and Norway of their 
independence. The last, indeed, h as lost hers, having vainly pro- 
tested against her union with Sweden. 

But whatever inconveniences could be alleged against the principle 
of division by the natural features of the earth, still graver objections 
can be urged against the rule founded on the consanguinity of the 
people and the affinities of language. The races which have peopled 
Europe have not kept together, and have not always preserved their 
purity of blood. In many countries, their descendants are so mingled 
together that any separation of them at the present time is impossible. 
Hungary, Switzerland, the shores of the Rhine, the Netherlands, are 
peopled by a conglomerate of races, speaking a multitude of lan- 
guages. OfFshoots of the great German family are established in 
Denmark, Russia, and even among the mountains of remote Transyl- 
vania. The population of France is, perhaps, as homogeneous as 
that of any country in Europe ; yet Balbi has divided them, accord- 
ing to the dialects which they use, into four great families, — the Gallic, 
the Germanic, the Celtic, and the Basque. When the cards have 
thus been shnffied, how idle it is to dream that they can be dealt off" in 
such a manner as to bring together all which are of the same suit ! The 
question also arises, what shall be considered as constituting diversity 
of race and language. The original banian stock sends ofF branches 
at widely distant epochs, each of which subsequently takes independ- 
ent root in the soil, and beholds its own progeny multiply around it. — 
If we go back to the origin of the great Indo-European stock, the 
population of more than half the countries of Europe may claim to 
be of the same blood, and ask to be constituted into one great nation. 
If we seek a common ancestry at a less remote period, a doubt arises 


whether the Portuguese^ are to be classed with the Spaniards, or the 
Sicilians with the Tuscans. If panslavism is made to include Rus- 
sians, Servians, Poles, and Wends, pangermanism may claim the 
Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, and Dutch, as well as the inhabitants of 
Germany proper. And it is quite as difficult to tell what coustitutes 
a distinct language as to designate those who belong to the same race. 
If all the dialects and various forms of patois are taken into the ac- 
count, Europe has nearly as many languages as it has cities ; if dia- 
lectic varieties are disregarded, there are but about half a dozen differ- 
ent tongues spoken on the Continent. Hence, when wars break out 
in which these questions of language and race are concerned, it is 
difficult to get at the merits of the case, or to ascertain which party 
is in the right. 

" In ordinary cases, the contests of one nation with another, the 
complication of events, the principles and the passions which are in- 
volve ■!, may be easily understood and followed out into their develop- 
ments and consequences. A common knowledge of geography and 
history is enough to enable one to understand the origin and progress 
of the dispute, the point in question, and the movements of the bellige- 
rent parties. The will of Charles II., the pragmatic sanction of 
Charles VI., and the declaration of Pilnitz, show clearly what caused 
the war of the Spanish Succession, the Seven Years' war, and that of 
the French Revolution. But in order to have a clear conception of 
what is passing at this moment from one end of Europe to another, 
one must be well versed not only in geography and history, but also 
in the study of some living languages which very few persons know 
any thing about. It is a contest of languages, which, after it had 
been confined for a long time to the academies and universities, is now 
breaking the general peace of Europe. 

" To cite only a few examples among so many, how can we under- 
stand the connection of events which have just taken place in the 
Austrian empire, unless we bravely undertake to seek the origin of 
them in a Hungarian dictionary, or a Croatian grammar ? How, 
without having an intimate knowledge of Germany, can we explain 
why the Germans of the liberal or republican party in the assembly 
at Frankfort sympathized with the splendid and warlike Magyars, 
while the (German) Saxons of the colonies which have been estab- 
lished, some for four, and others for seven, centuries, in the heart of 
Transylvania, united with their neighbors, the Wallachians, in order 
to make common cause with the Croatians ? Finally, without a 
special course of study for the purpose, can we fairly appreciate the 
unjust quarrel which has arisen between powerful Germany and the 
inoffensive monarchy of Denmark? There is something wholly un- 
precedented in the situation of this little country, which, though reck- 
oning hardly 2,200,000 inhabitants, a third part of whom have made 


common cause with its enemies, has been able to defend its cause very 
logically in its diplomatic notes, and afterwards very heroically, both 
by land and sea, against a nation of 40,000,000 souls. The war of 
Sleswick, also, for more than one reason, ought to be interesting to 
France ; for the only state that remained faithful to us at the epoch 
of our reverses was that Denmark, whose brave soldiers, during the 
year 1848, defended the entrance of their Cimbric Chersonesus 
against the armies and the partisan corps which came towards Sles- 
wick Holstein from every part of Germany. This strange war gives 
us mournful proof of what may be effected by erudition towards per- 
plexing the simplest questions. The Danes and the Germans, these 
descendants of the Cimbri and the Teutones, before coming into a 
bloody conflict about it, had long disputed whether the population of 
Sleswick contained-rnore Germans then Danes. It was a question of 
figures, which it would seem that statistics might easily answer ; and 
yet, up to this day, they have not been able to agree about it. It is 
certain, however, that the Danish population is the more numerous, 
though the Germans have brought into the computation, on their own 
side, the 27,000 Frisians established on the western coast of Sleswick. 
But let them submit this particular point of dispute to German and 
Danish arbitrators, and it will be demonstrated to them, that a Frisian 
peasant or sailor understands neither the Danish of Copenhagen, nor 
the German of Hanover and Berlin." 

Here in America, it is some consolation for us to know, that if we 
have not rightly understood the progress of events in the Old World 
during the last two years, and have often had the mortification of find- 
ing out that we had bestowed our sympathies on the wrong side, the 
diplomatists of Europe, who were not acquainted with as many lan- 
guages as Cardiual Mezzofanti, or had not the philogical skill of a 
Scaliger or an Adelung, have been equally at fault, and have commit- 
ted quite as gross blunders. Our mistakes arose from jumpiug too has- 
tily to the conclusion, that a revolution in a monarchy necessarily tend 
ed to the establishment of a republic ; and that, of two parties in a 
war, the one which had the misfortune to obtain the assistance either 
of Austria or Russia was unquestionably in the wrong. And truly, 
in this grand imbroglio of races and languages, this Babel of war-cries 
for Panslavism, Magyarism, United Germany, and Italy " one and in- 
divisible," one might be pardoned for adopting any rule, however rash- 
ly formed, which would lead to some decision upon the merits of the 
case, without obliging us to investigate thoroughly all the details and 
complications of the affair. An attempt made by a detached portion of 
one of the great races of Europe, which had long been established in the 
midst of those who were alien to it in blood and language, to vindicate 
its nationality and resume a connection with its parent stock, appears 


both natural and just, and may command our unthinking sympathy 
and respect. But it becomes evident on a little consideration, in view 
of the wide and long continued dispersion of these races, that a gen- 
eral reunion of them could not be effected without universal confusion 
and bloodshed. The plan is impracticable, and it is difficult to see 
what practical good would result from it, even if it could be carried 
out. We may be pardoned, therefore, for viewing with some suspicion 
and dislike the conduct of agitators who have recently kindled the 
flames of war in many parts of the continent under the pretence of 
uniting those who had been long ,and unjustly separated, though they 
also claim to be fighting the battles of political freedem and national 
independence. The truth is, they have used this cry for a union of 
races merely as a convenient means of popular agitation, with a view 
to the establishment of a republic, which the body of the people either 
dreaded or cared little about, or in order simply to overthrow the ex- 
isting government and to profit by the confusion and anarchy which 
would then ensue. 

A great change has taken place in Europe since the commencement 
of the present century, as to the dominant principle of popular move- 
ments and political crises. The material interests of a people, their 
means of acquiring wealth and comfort, the more or less equal distri- 
bution of that wealth, and their general well-being, have become ob- 
jects of so great importance in their eyes, that all proposed changes 
in society and government are judged solely by their probable effects 
in this one direction. Men now coolly count the cost, the comparative 
value in dollars and cents, of a monarchy and a republic. Statesmen 
have been obliged to make the study of politics second to that of po- 
litical economy. Monarchs strive to guard their thrones, not so much 
by the number and efficiency of their standing armies, as by the pru- 
dent management of their finances, and by their successful develop- 
ment of the agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing resources of 
their people. They build railroads, form Customs -Unions to relieve 
trade of its fetters, establish colonies to get rid of surplus population, 
and thus aim to acquire or regain a firm basis for that authority which 
formerly rested only on prescription and military force. The idea of 
political freedom, of choosing their own governors and managing their 
own affairs, is no longer attractive enough to lead the people, if it be 
not united with some project for a new organization of society and a 
more equal enjoyment of the goods of this life. Hence the rise Of so 
many schemes of socialism and communism to cheer on the multitude 
whose enthusiasm could no longer be excited by the mere name of a 
republic, and whom no acts of insult or oppression, on the part of their 


rulers had goaded into rebellion. The idea of political crusades for the 
establishment of one form of government or another, of the propagand- 
ism of free or despotic institutions, was stretched to the utmost, and 
exhausted, in the wars of the first French Revolution and the Holy 
Alliance. The revolution of 1830 was the triumph of the bourgeoisie, 
the establishment in power of the middle classes, of bankers, manu- 
facturers, tradesmen, and master mechanics. The outbreak of Febru- 
ary, 1848, was a revolt of the indigent classes, the proletaries, against 
the bourgoeisie ; and the result showed, in France at least, the great 
numerical inferiority of the former, who owed their temporary success 
solely to their recklessness, to the fact that they had nothing to lose. — 
But they abused their victory till they had goaded their opponents into 
the display of equal bravery and decision, and were crushed by them 
in the insurrection of June, when the National Guard fought with the 
energy of despair, or as men always will fight, when they know that 
their property and their homes are at stake. 

We need not stop to inquire what the result of the revolutions of 
1848 in Europe might have been, had not the commencement of them 
in France been so immediately ruinous to the material prosperity of 
the country. As it was, the experiment in Paris was decisive for the 
whole continent. There, republicanism was associated with commer- 
cial distress and bankruptcy, with the disorder of the national finances, 
the suffering of the laboring classes and a general feeling of insecurity 
among the holders of property.* The Belgians, the Germans, and 
the Italians were scared from the repetition of an undertaking so dis- 
astrous. Those who had hitherto been foremost in inculcating revo- 
lutionary doctrines now strove to quench the enthusiasm they had ex- 
cited. The Germans at Heidelberg, on the 28th of March, under the 
guidance of the most popular leaders of the liberal party, solemnly 
adopted the example of England and a monarchical polity. " Do not," 
said Welcker, one of their ablest orators and statesmen, " do not mis- 
take license for liberty, nor suppose that, because much must be re- 
modelled, all must be overturned. Let us advance, but steadily and 
thoughtfully ; let us lay the foundation of our freedom, a national par- 
liament; let us be citizens of one united country ; bid do not think 
such an object can be attained by proclaiming a republic." He was 
heard with applause, and his advice was adopted by acclamation. — 
The king of the Belgians wisely and magnanimously offered to leave 
the throne and the kingdom, if his people were tired of royalty ; but 

* The same occurred in Hungary ! The confusion and distress which were caused by 
the Revolution cannot be sufficiently described. 


they refused his proffered abdication, and drove back with spirit the in- 
sane hand of French propagandists whom Ledru Rollin had sent 
across the frontier. Milan and Venice elected Charles Albert to be 
their king, after they had expelled the Austrians. The Sicilians offer- 
ed the throne of their island to a son of the same monarch before 
their former sovereign again reduced them to subjection. The Mag- 
yars did not repudiate their emperor till their own subjects, who had 
been their patient vassals of eight centuries, repudiated them ; and 
then they declared the throne vacant only because Ferdinand had 
taken part with the rebels. 

To keep up the revolutionary movement, then, it was necessary to 
find some object of desire, some principle of excitement, to take the 
place of a hatred of royalty ; and this was supplied by the project of 
a union of all the branches of each nationality, and the consequent 
establishment of greater national power made up of more homogeneous 
materials. Mo matter if the separation had been so long continued* 
and the changes of dialect had become so great, that the people them- 
selves were hardly conscious of their relationship. It was easy to 
teach them that they had a common ancestry, and that they spoke 
what was formerly one language. How long the instinct or prejudice 
of race may continue, when fostered by an unequal distribution of 
political influence and by an obstinate adherence of each tribe to its 
ancestral language, is shown by the mutual jealousy and hostility of 
the French and English in Canada down to the present day. That 
these hostile feelings, however, may be made to disappear under the 
soothing influence of a government which all are equally interested in 
maintaining, is proved by our own rapid success in assimilating with 
our own stock the Spaniards and French who first peopled Florida 
and Louisiana. But if either race is led to assume an antagonistic 
position towards the other, through an inequality of political or social 
advantages, the alienation in blood and language constantly aggravates 
the evil, as it perpetually reminds one party of its subjection and the 
other of its superiority. The marks of race become irritating badges 
of distinctions that are assumed to be unjust because they are ineffacea- 
ble, no degree of personal merit or ability being competent to get rid 
of them. If these distinctions have existed for a long period of time 
without contest, habit may riave so inured the people to them, that 
they may not disturb the public tranquillity. Still they exist as latent 
causes of dissension, which an expert agitator at any time may call 
into dangerous activity. And if other events should throw the country 
into commotion, or light up in it the flames of civil war, these hereditary 
motives of hostility will soon be awakened to aggravate the feud, and 


render it perpetual. A few years ago, the suffering poor of Ireland 
were probably ignorant, for the most part, of the fact, that the English 
were aliens to them in blood ; O'Connell reminded them of it, and now 
the natural enmity of the Saxon and the Celt tends more strongly, 
perhaps, than all other causes united to keep up the chronic diseases 
of that unhappy population. The case of the Sclavonians and Wal- 
lachians in Hungary against the Magyars is a still more striking instance 
of the bitter hostility that may be suddenly excited in this manner, the 
consequences of which will affect the politics of eastern Europe for 
centuries to come. 

Before looking more particularly at this case, however, let us glance 
at the results of the movement in Germany, the object of which was to 
unite the several branches and determine the extent of the German 
nationality. The provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, whose annexation 
to France is of comparatively recent date, still have the German 
element predominant in their population ; and some of the orators and 
publicists at Frankfort did not hesitate, on this account, to express a 
wish that they might be again united to their fatherland. But France 
was a power not to be lightly provoked, and the people of these 
provinces, whether French or German, manifested no desire for a 
change; therefore, no steps were taken towards the fulfilment of this 
project. The remarks of M. de Bourgoing upon this subject are very 
sensible ; and as the advice which he gives is not wholly inapplicable 
to the opinions entertained by many on this side of the Atlantic, we 
will translate a portion of them for the benefit of our readers. 

"Those who now ask for a cession of Alsace and Lorraine to Ger- 
many, no longer express the feelings of hatred and vengeance which 
animated the allies of 1815, when they proposed to take away from 
us this part of our territory, and to restrict our frontier to the line of 
the Vosges mountains. They now simply declare, that the several 
nationalities throughout Europe ought to be reconstituted, and that 
every people ought to obey a sovereign of their own race, and laws 
written in their own language. One of the most distinguished diplo- 
matists of Germany, Baron d'Arnim, lately said to me, ' If it is true, as 
one of your writers has maintained, that the style is the man, the 
language ought to constitute the nation/ According to the same 
system, it is added, that the unity of Italy ought to be established, and 
that it must finally triumph over all the obstacles which now prevent it. 

" But in our sincere and benevolent impartiality, we think every 
nation ought to be allowed to judge for itself, so far as its own interests 
are concerned, this great question of our day, the question of national 
unity. It is for the Italians themselves to decide, whether their wishes 
for the establishment of a commpn country are very unanimous and 
very strong. Thus far, the unitarian principle, a powerful auxiliary of 


anarchical radicalism, has produced in this country only the disasters 
of the Piedmontese army, so worthy of a better fate, the misfortunes 
of Tuscany, the ruin, the despair, of the capital of the Christian world, 
and finally, in place of union, the danger of a separation of Sicily ; 
hitherto, these have been, in Italy, the only consequences of the foolish 
doctrine of nationalities classified by their languages. 

" ' The Sclavonian unity' continue these political philologists, ' for 
which we have already found a word, panslavism, is making rapid 
advances towards its accomplishment, t German unity is establishing 
itself at this moment, with some difficulty it is true, but time is needed 
for all things; sooner or later, it will crush the obstacles that now 
hinder its progress. Scandinavian unity also gives signs of life. The 
principle of this reconstruction of states according to the races which 
people them exists in the nature of things ; it is inevitable.' 

" We acknowledge that, in certain cases, this principle admits of a 
just application. We shall applaud what in it is reasonable and possi- 
ble, we shall blame what is unjust, and we must be permitted to doubt 
what is exaggerated and chimerical. That the various nations should 
endeavor to enfranchise themselves, and to form groups and alliances, 
according to their convenience and their affinities of race, is an attempt 
in which our country may well feel some interest, provided that this 
sj'mpathy docs not lead us to lavish on other lands its finances and the 
blood of its children, in order to help the cause of foreigners, without 
having any thing to gain by it, not even gratitude. It is not fitting 
that a government which professes, above all others, to be the defender 
and the representative of the interests and rights of the people, should 
send off an army to take sides in a quarrel which is purely Hungarian, 
German, or Italian. The error of the partisans of this new system, of 
the classification of races, evidently consists in transforming into an 
absolute principle a rule, which, as good sense and experience clearly 
show, can be applied only with numerous limitations. Undoubtedly, 
a people enslaved and trodden under foot by a foreign race have a 
right to endeavor to regain their independence ;* but when the fraction 
of a nationality finds on the territory of another people its equal rights 
firmly guarantied, and is treated with sentiments of real fraternity, it 
would be a criminal and insane act to seek to entice it into a separa- 
tion. A certain number of these attempts at separation are entitled at 
least to our sympathy and sincere good wishes ; others ought to be 
boldly censured, either as premature designs, or as romantic extrava 

If judged by the standard that is here laid down, we cannot avoid 
censuring almost the first act of the German Unitarian party. To 
make the limits of their united country as wide as possible, and to 
secure an important maritime position on the Elbe, and near the mouth 
of the Baltic, they committed a flagrant aggression on the rights of 

* This has been done by the Sclavonians, Wallachians, and other races in Hungary. 


Denmark. The preliminary parliament assembled at Frankfort, at the 
end of March, voted unanimously, that Sleswick and Holstein should 
be invited to send deputies to the grand parliament which was to fol- 
low, as if both these duchies incontestibly belonged to the German 
confederation. One of them, Holstein, unquestionably did belong to 
it, though subjeqt to the king of Denmark as Duke of Sleswick Hol- 
stein ; the other, Sleswick, is as unquestionably a fief of the crown of 
Denmark, and its only connection with Germany rests on its alleged 
inseparable union with Holstein. The population of the duchy in 
dispute being composed in about equal proportion of Germans and 
Danes, the principle of division by races affords no solution of the 
problem ; nay, it was the encroaching spirit of the liberal Unitarian 
Germans, or the ambition of Prussia, which was the sole cause of the 
difficulty. The Danes supported the claims of their government with 
much spirit. A public meeting, held at Copenhagen on the twentieth 
of March, passed resolutions declaring that the proposed union of the 
Duchies with Germany would be a " dereliction of the rights of the 
Danish crown over Sleswick, to which the king has no right to submit, 
nor can the Danish nation ever assent to it ;" and that the people 
would assist the king with all the means in their power to enable him 
to fulfil his duties as a sovereign, and to maintain the integrity of his 
territory. It was evident that the people, and'riot merely the govern- 
ments, on both sides were arrayed against each other, and that the 
mutual jealousy of the two races was the primary cause of the quar- 
rel. Both parties disclaimed republicanism, both offered free and 
liberal constitutions to the countries in dispute. The war was com- 
menced by a Prussian army, which, on the sixth of April, invaded the 
territory with the avowed object of driving the Danes out of it, and 
annexing it to Germany. The Danes defended themselves with great 
gallantry and various success for several months, when it appewefi 
that they were overmatched, and both Sweden and Russia actively- 
interfered in their behalf. An armistice was then concluded, August 
26th, which in fact determined nothing, but caused the temporary 
withdrawal both of the Danish and the German federal troops, and 
allowed the war-wasted country time for repose. Within a few 
months, the war has broken out anew ; but as Germany has now lost 
her high-raised hopes of a fusion of all her states into one, it is not 
likely to be of long duration.* 

The next outbreak caused by the new principle of a division of 

* This prophecy of M. Bourgoing ie punctually realized. 


races took place in that part of unhappy, dismembered Poland, which 
had been annexed to Prussia. The Grand Duchy of Posen, as this 
part is called, has a population of about 1,200,000, of whom about 
two thirds are Poles, and the remainder are Germans. The low social 
condition of the former, the great bulk of whom, at the time of their 
annexation, were in a state of pisedial slavery, and were " as ignorant 
and brutalized as can well be imagined," caused them to be treated as 
a depressed and inferior race by the Germans, and a smothered feel- 
ing of irritation and hostility had, consequently, long existed between 
the two races. After the revolution of March had taken place at 
Berlin, a deputation of Poles came thither and obtained a promise 
from the king that the Duchy should be divided into two portions, the 
one Polish and the other German, each of which should have a sepa- 
rate local administration. Their countrymen, also, who had been 
imprisoned for political offences, were liberated ; and one of these, 
Mieroslawski, a noted agitator, was carried about the streets by them 
in a sort of triumphal procession. Some delay occurred in the ful- 
filment of the king's promise, which afforded a sufficient pretence for 
a revolt, that broke out iu April. All the Poles rose in arms, and 
turned with savage fury upon their German neighbors, who had so 
long oppressed and insulted them. This conduct provoked retalia- 
tion, and atrocities were committsd on both sides that would have dis- 
graced our North American Indians. Mieroslawski led the army of 
his insurgent countrymen, and fought several indecisive battles Math the 
Prussians. Thelatter at length poured an overwhelming force into the 
province ; and after a desperate struggle, the Poles were compelled to 
surrender, and their leaders were imprisoned or sent out of the country. 
The promised division of the territory between the two races then took 
place, care being taken, of course, to bring all the strong and impor- 
tant places, the city of Posen itself included, into the German dis- 
trict, and to leave very few Germans under the jurisdiction of the 
Poles, though many of the latter remained under their old masters. — 
And the division itself was made only for the purposes of the local 
administration ; the whole province continued to form part of the 
Prussian dominions. Favorably as the line had been drawn for the 
dominant race, and by the Prussian government too, who were most 
interested in preserving the ascendency of the bulk of their subjects 
in this quarter, the parliament of united Germany was still jealous lest 
the interest of the Father-land had not been sufficiently cared for.— - 
They would only provisionally acknowledge the boundary line, and 
they passed a resolution, " That the National Assembly express to 
the Prussian Governments confident expectation, that the nationality 


of the Germans in the Polish part of Posen will be protected under 
every circumstance." 

These two instances, the war in Sleswick and that in Posen, show 
that the newly awakened spirit of German unity and nationality is no 
more regardful of the rights of other races, no less ambitious and en- 
croaching in its policy, and no more favorable to the establishment of 
free institutions throughout Europe, than the several despotic sove- 
reigns of German}' were during the flourishing days of the Holy 
Alliance. There was a party of republicans among the German 
Unionists ; but these were so factious and turbulent, that the Central 
Government repressed them, once and again, with a strong hand. — 
The democrat leaders, Hecker and Struve, collected a large body of 
insurgents, who were defeated by the troops of the General Diet on 
the 20th of April, Struve being made prisoner, while his associate fled 
to Basle. A still more formidable insurrection of the radicals took 
place in Frankfort, on the 20th of September in the same year, when 
the Prince Lichnowski, one of the most eloquent members of the 
Diet, and Major A.uerswald, were murdered. Barricades were 
erected in the streets, a deputation who went to parley with the insur- 
gents were fired at, and the revolt was not subdued till artillery was 
brought into action, and many lives were lost. These disturbances, of 
course, increased the general dislike and fear of republicanism, as they 
showed that the people were not prepared for it, and that it was 
necessary to increase rather than to diminish the restrictive power of 
government. German patriotism was consequently limited to the 
single object of uniting the several states of Germany into one, or at 
least, of binding them together into a closer confederacy than had yet" 
been established. Subsequent events have proved that even this 
project cannot be accomplished; and the only effect of the prolonged 
agitation for this purpose has been to excite the national feeling of 
rival races, and to cause a great effusion of blood in local and profit- 
less contests. 

But the most lamentable consequences of stirring up this rivalry of 
different nationalities, have been displayed in Hungary ; and as we 
have already sufficiently reviewed them, we are hastening to the close 
of our task. We will finally, but earnestly, repeat what we have 
already said : it was only the restless and domineering spirit of the 
untitled Magyar nobility, aggressive and fiery in temperament, and 
panting not so much for absolute independence as for entire control of 
the more patient, industrious, and unambitious races, Sclavonians, 
Germans, Wallachians, &c, by whom they are surrounded, which 
kindled the recent war, and so conducted it, as to arm every one of 


these races against themselves ; and thus, in spite of their own 
matchless bravery and enthusiasm, and the misplaced sympathy of 
the republican party throughout Europe and America, to bring down 
upon their heads the united powers of Austria and Russia, and finally 
to sink in the unequal struggle. 

Had they begun by the abrogation of the enormous and unjust 
privileges of their own order, and the insolent supremacy of their 
race ; had they offered confederation and equality of political rights to 
Croat and Slowack, Saxon and Wallachian, their united strength 
might have dashed in pieces the Austrian empire, and the Russian 
troops would never have crossed their borders.* But they aimed to 
procure dissimilar and incompatible objects ; to retain the economical 
and political advantages of a union with Austria, without submitting 
to any control, or tendering an}' equivalent ; to be admitted to all the 
privileges enjoyed by all the hereditary states, without bearing any por- 
tion of their burdens; to vindicate their own independence against the 
empire, but to ciWithe Croatiansand Wallachians for daring to claim 
independence of the Magyars ; to " hunt out those proscribed traitors 
in their lair," to stifle the rebellion in south Hungary ; to. lay waste 
with fire and sword the Saxon colonies in Transylvania, and then 
evoke the indignation of Europe against the interference of Russia, 
whose troops entered Hermanstadt at the urgent entreaty of these 
Saxon colonists, in order to save them from utter destruction by the 
merciless Szeklers and Magyars. By such barbarous and inhuman 
dealings, they had provoked too many enemies. Of the half dozen 
races which make up the mixed population of the Austrian empire, 
every one was hostile to them. Their stupid pride and indomitable 
obstinacy prevented them from making any attempt at reconciliation,-] - 
and Gorgey, their last and ablest commander, rather than unite his 
troops with those of Dembinsky, who had made some concessions 
and promises to the Sclavonians, and thereby partially recruited his 
ranks from them, preferred to surrender his whole army without con- 
ditions to the generous and benevolent Russians. 

Thus the Magyars have fallen, and there are few to lament their 
fate but the republicans of France and Germany, and the refugee 
Poles, who were their only foreign allies. They have fallen in an 
unwise attempt to preserve their ancient feudal institutions, their su- 
premacy as a race, and their national independence against the 
reforms demanded by the spirit of the age, against the equality of 

* They could say : " Rajta Magyar rajta : jon az ellenseg a kutja fajta. 1 
+ The Magyar's Exalted Horn says : "Aut Csjaar ; aut nihil." 


political rights, which could no longer be refused to their ancient sub- 
jects, and against the union with Austria, which is a necessity of their 
geographical position. And we ought to remember, once more, that 
the disgraceful revolution of the Magyars had caused inexpressible 
evils to all the inhabitants of Hungary. By this revolution, the most 
precious things of the kingdom disappeared ; the inestimable crown, 
and other insignia regia, have been robbed ; the entire gold and silver 
of the nation carried away, and the money of rags, in the place of 
gold and silver, was substituted ; but, after a very short time, it has 
been declared that the paper money has no value at all. " These, 
and other dreadful things, had plunged the whole people into the 
deepest misery, consternation and despair, until they were relieved 
by the surprising liberalities of the Emperor of Austria." 

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